By Franziska Spritzler
Unfortunately, there are several common lifestyle mistakes that may be slowing down your metabolism.
Doing these on a regular basis could make it hard to lose weight and make you more prone to weight gain in the future.
Here are six lifestyle mistakes that can slow down your metabolism.
1. Eating Too Few Calories
Eating too few calories can cause a major decrease in metabolism.
Although a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss, it can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low.
When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories.
Most studies measure resting metabolic rate, which is the number of calories burned during rest. However, some also measure calories burned during rest and activity over 24 hours, which is referred to as total daily energy expenditure.
In one study, when obese women ate 420 calories per day for four to six months, their resting metabolic rates slowed down significantly.
What's more, even after they increased their calorie intake over the following five weeks, their resting metabolic rates remained much lower than before the diet (3).
In another study, overweight people were asked to consume 890 calories per day. After three months, the total number of calories they burned per day was found to have dropped by 633 calories, on average (4).
It appears that even when calorie restriction is more moderate, it can slow metabolism somewhat.
In a four-day study of 32 people, the resting metabolic rate of people who ate 1,114 calories per day slowed more than twice as much as of those who consumed 1,462 calories daily. However, weight loss was similar for both groups (5).
If you're going to lose weight by calorie restriction, then don't restrict your calorie intake too much or for too long.
Bottom Line: Cutting calories too much and for too long lowers metabolic rate, which can make weight loss and weight maintenance more difficult.
2. Skimping on Protein
Eating enough protein is extremely important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
The increase in metabolism that occurs after digestion is called the thermic effect of food.
The thermic effect of protein is much higher than the thermic effects of carbs or fat. Indeed, eating protein has been observed to temporarily increase metabolism by about 20–30 percent, versus 5–10 percent for carbs and 3 percent or less for fat (9).
Although metabolic rate inevitably slows during weight loss and continues to be slower during weight maintenance, there's evidence that higher protein intake can minimize this effect.
In one study, participants followed one of three diets in an effort to maintain a 10–15 percent weight loss.
The diet highest in protein reduced participants' total daily energy expenditure by only 97 calories, versus a decrease of 297–423 calories in people who consumed less protein (10).
Another study found that people needed to eat at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound (1.2 grams/kg) of their body weight in order to prevent their metabolism from slowing during and after weight loss (11).
Bottom Line: Protein increases metabolic rate more than carbs or fat. Increased protein intake helps preserve metabolic rate during weight loss and maintenance.
3. Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
Being sedentary may lead to a significant decrease in the number of calories you burn every day.
Unfortunately, many people have lifestyles that mainly involve sitting at work, which can have negative effects on metabolic rate and overall health (12).
Although working out or playing sports can have a major impact on the number of calories you burn, even basic physical activity such as standing up, cleaning and taking the stairs can help you burn calories.
This type of activity is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
One study found that performing a high amount of NEAT regularly could burn up to 2,000 additional calories per day. However, such a dramatic increase is not realistic for most people (13).
Another study found that watching TV while you're sitting burns an average of 8 percent fewer calories than typing while you're sitting and an average of 16 percent fewer calories than standing (14).
Working at a standing desk or simply getting up to walk around several times per day can help increase your NEAT and prevent your metabolism from dropping.
Bottom Line: Being inactive reduces the number of calories you burn during the day. Try to minimize sitting and increase your general activity levels.
4. Not Getting Enough High-Quality Sleep
Sleep is extremely important for good health.
Sleeping fewer hours than you need may increase your risk of a number of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes and depression (15).
One study found that healthy adults who slept four hours per night for five nights in a row experienced a 2.6 percent decrease in resting metabolic rate, on average.
Participants' resting metabolic rate returned to normal following 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep (17).
Lack of sleep is made worse by sleeping during the day instead of at night. This sleep pattern disrupts your body's circadian rhythms, the biological changes in your body that occur in response to light and darkness over a 24-hour cycle.
A five-week study found that prolonged sleep restriction combined with circadian rhythm disruption significantly decreased participants' resting metabolic rate by an average of 8 percent (18).
Bottom Line: Getting adequate, high-quality sleep and sleeping at night rather than during the day can help preserve your metabolic rate.
5. Drinking Sugary Beverages
Sugar-sweetened drinks are the absolute worst beverages for health.
Most of the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages can be attributed to fructose. Table sugar contains 50 percent fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup contains 55 percent fructose.
Results from a 2012 study suggest that frequently consuming sugar-sweetened beverages may slow down your metabolism.
In this 12-week controlled study, overweight and obese people who consumed 25 percent of their calories as fructose-sweetened beverages on a weight-maintaining diet experienced a significant drop in metabolic rate (21).
Unfortunately, there aren't many studies that have measured how metabolic rate is affected by a high intake of sugar-sweetened beverages.
Bottom Line: A high intake of fructose-containing beverages has been found to reduce metabolic rate and promote fat storage in the belly and liver.
6. A Lack of Resistance Training
Working out with weights is a great strategy to keep your metabolism from slowing down.
Resistance training increases muscle mass, which makes up much of the fat-free mass in your body. Having a higher amount of fat-free mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest (31, 32, 33).
Fortunately, doing even minimal amounts of strength training appears to boost energy expenditure.
In a six-month study, people who performed resistance training for 11 minutes per day for three days a week experienced a 7.4 percent increase in resting metabolic rate and burned 125 extra calories per day, on average (34).
Bottom Line: Resistance training increases muscle mass and helps preserve metabolic rate during weight loss and aging.
Take Home Message
Engaging in lifestyle behaviors that slow down your metabolism can lead to weight gain over time. It's best to avoid or minimize them as much as possible.
Fortunately, there are also many things that can boost your metabolism to help you lose weight and keep it off.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Authority Nutrition.
Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie
Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?
Triangle of Mistruths<p>The myth created around plastic recycling has been one of simplicity. We look for the familiar triangle arrows, then pop the waste in the recycling bin so it can be reused.</p><p>But the true purpose of those triangles has been misunderstood by the general public ever since their invention in the 1980s.</p><p>These triangles were actually created by the plastics industry and, according to a report provided to them in July 1993, <a href="https://www.npr.org/transcripts/912150085" target="_blank">were creating "unrealistic expectations"</a> about what could be recycled. But they decided to keep using the codes.</p><p>Which is why many people still believe that these triangular symbols (also known as a <a href="https://sustainablepackaging.org/101-resin-identification-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">resin identifier code</a> or RIC) means something is recyclable.</p><p>But according to the American Society for Testing and Materials International (ASTM) – which controls the RIC system – the numbered triangles "<a href="https://www.astm.org/Standards/D7611.htm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">are not recycle codes</a>." In fact, they weren't created for the general public at all. They were made for the post-consumer plastic industry.</p><p>In other words, the symbols make it easier to sort the different types of plastics, some of which cannot be recycled – <a href="https://www.ecobin.com.au/understand-recycling-codes/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">depending on the recycling facility</a>.</p><p>"Unfortunately, just placing your plastic into the recycling bin doesn't mean it will get recycled," says Lara Camilla Pinho. She is an architect and lecturer at the UWA School of Design who is researching novel uses of plastic waste.</p><p>"The recycling system is complicated and often dictated by market demand. Not all plastic is recyclable. We cannot recycle plastic bags or straws for example."</p>
Behind the Scenes<p>So, what makes recycling plastics so difficult?</p><p>"Essentially, there are two types of plastics – thermoplastics and thermosets. While thermoplastics can be re-melted and re-molded, thermosets contain cross-linked polymers that cannot be separated meaning they cannot be recycled," says Lara.</p><p>"Even thermoplastics have a limit to the amount of times we can recycle them, as each time they are recycled they downgrade in quality."</p><p>Even when plastics are recyclable, it is <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/13/war-on-plastic-waste-faces-setback-as-cost-of-recycled-material-soars" target="_blank">often more costly</a> than simply making new plastics.</p>
Sugar, Seaweed and Mushrooms<p>If the conventional recycling system isn't working, what else can we do with all the plastic we've created?</p><p>Lara is looking for ways to add value to recycled plastics such as using it in the design and development of architectural products. She hopes to use these architectural products to help underserved communities that are disproportionately affected by plastic waste.</p><p>In addition to recycling, we also need to find ways to reduce our use of virgin petroleum-based plastics.</p><p>Bioplastic is one such product that has been getting a lot of hype over the last few years. And although they're better than petroleum-based plastics, bioplastics also come with their own <a href="https://phys.org/news/2017-12-truth-bioplastics.html" target="_blank">set of challenges</a>.</p><p>"There are already a lot of bio-based alternatives to plastic, such as bagasse – a byproduct of sugar cane processing," says Lara.</p><p><a href="https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-mycelium-revolution-is-upon-us/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mycelium</a>, a type of fungi we most often associate with mushrooms, are also providing an interesting plastic alternative.</p><p>"In the field of architecture, mycelium is starting to be used as an alternative to plastic insulation, but also as compostable packaging and bricks," says Lara.</p><p>"The bricks take around five days to make and are strong, durable, water resistant and compostable at the end of their use."</p><p><a href="https://www.arup.com/news-and-events/hyfi-reinvents-the-brick" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Hy-Fi Tower</a>, created by <a href="http://www.thelivingnewyork.com/living_about.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Living</a>, is an example of a building made from these bricks.</p><p>And finally, there's seaweed.</p><p>"[Seaweed is] cheap and can reproduce itself quickly without fertilizers. In architecture, there is use for seaweed as an alternative to plastic insulation but also as cladding," says Lara.</p>
More Money, More Problems<p>While all these alternatives are great, the main cause of our plastic dilemma is not scientific or technological, but economic.</p><p>As long as it remains <a href="https://engineering.mit.edu/engage/ask-an-engineer/why-is-it-cheaper-to-make-new-plastic-bottles-than-to-recycle-old-ones/" target="_blank">cheaper to create new plastics</a> from fossil fuels rather than from bioplastics or from recycling, we're going to be stuck with plastic garbage islands floating in our oceans.</p><p>The true cost to our health and our environment has yet to be included in the equation. But once it is, maybe that is when the real shift will happen.</p>
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- The Recycling Dilemma: Good Plastic, Bad plastic? - EcoWatch ›
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Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.
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The Truth About CBD Product Potency<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDU2ODMyNC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDc2NTg1N30.OAm3iOTO_pKZLXi7KdJ7n0DGOFMdOmIYuG4ArGooFC4/img.jpg?width=980" id="d657c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ee016a81b29caa699b9185b64ce345d6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
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Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.
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By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan
As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.