Attitude

A PROBLEM SHARED

Got a problem? Dr Ranj Singh is here to off er his advice

- Andrew, Reading

I’ve been trying to lose some weight for a while now, but no matter what I do, I struggle to shift the pounds. I think it might be because I have a slow metabolism. Is there anything I can do to try to boost it?

Despite what you might read in magazines, or on the packaging of certain misleading products, boosting your metabolism is not easy — it’s even impossible in many cases. The relationsh­ip between weight and metabolism is quite complex.

In very basic terms, a person’s body metabolism consists of the calories they burn at rest – this is called your basic metabolic rate, which just keeps your body ticking over – and those they burn doing activities.

To increase the number of calories you blitz on a daily basis, you would have to increase one of these. It follows then that doing more exercise will cook more calories, and that in turn will supercharg­e your total metabolism.

However, when people talk about giving their metabolism a boost, they tend to mean their basic metabolic rate.

Altering that is not as straightfo­rward because it is determined by lots of different things, such as how much muscle you have. Muscle is metabolica­lly active, so if you increase muscle mass through working out, then you can raise your rate. Bear in mind, though, that this would only be minimal.

There are many products on the market that claim to give your metabolism extra oomph, so to speak, everything from supplement­s and “special” foods to types of tea. The evidence that these do anything meaningful when consumed in normal quantities is lacking, and you’d probably just be wasting your time and money.

The best way to lose weight is to watch your calorie intake. The average man needs approximat­ely 2,500 calories per day, but if you want to shift those pounds aim to keep your intake below 2,000.

At the same time, consider the amount of exercise you do, including aerobic ( jogging, swimming, cycling) and weight training to build muscle.

You should also make sure that your diet gives you everything you need. Keep it as balanced as possible and don’t consume too much fat or simple carbohydra­tes.

If you are still struggling, chat with your doctor. They may be able to off er you further advice or do any necessary tests in the unlikely situation that something medical is underlying your problem.

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