Have you struggled with trying to maintain a healthy weight as you get older? We’re taking a closer look at the science of being fit and providing you with useful tips on what to eat and what supplements may help you reach your goals in this week’s article.
Weight and Aging
Why is it that teenagers can eat a diet consisting of mostly junk food and barely gain any weight? The science suggests that our bodies have a robust metabolism in youth. When we are young we can efficiently use food for energy instead of storing it as fat. Our basal metabolic rate, or the rate at which we use calories for energy, decreases with age, making it easier to pack on pounds.* Additionally, cellular changes begin to take place in the muscles.* Muscle loss occurs at a rate of 3-8% per decade from age 30 onward, and the connection between muscles and nerves does not fire as well as it did at a younger age.* Hormonal changes can also affect metabolism. The good news is the body is quite resilient, and often responds well to minor lifestyle changes related to exercise and diet.
Gut Health’s Link to Weight
The gut, with its diverse bacteria and flora, influences weight management. Researchers have found that the bacteria profile of individuals who are significantly overweight differs from those who are within a healthy weight range. The more excess pounds you carry, the more likely the ratio of bad to good bacteria in the digestive tract increases. Why does this matter for weight? A healthy gut can signal the release of a hormone called leptin which tells us that we are full. Certain species of beneficial bacteria may encourage leptin signals, helping you to feel more full.
Get More Fiber in Your Diet
To promote beneficial organisms in the gut, consume foods that are high in fiber. Soluble fiber attracts water and can help you feel more satiated for a longer period of time. Insoluble fiber feeds “good” bacteria in the intestines. Oatmeal, chia seeds, artichokes, flaxseeds are just a few of the many delicious sources of fiber you can choose from. Fruits and vegetables are also high in fiber and low in calories which can go a long way toward helping you reach your weight goals. When bacteria consume insoluble fiber, one of the byproducts created include short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. Butyrate supports metabolism by activating AMPK.* AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) tells the body when to use fuel sources such as carbohydrates or fats for energy. Support the beneficial bacteria that produce butyrate by eating foods with insoluble fiber such as root vegetables, brown rice, beans, nuts, seeds and wheat bran.
Support Your Metabolism with Physical Activity
The biggest contributor to weight management is muscle mass. Muscles use up caloric energy at a rate much higher than fat. Theoretically, having greater muscle mass can increase how much calories you burn at rest. Since we now know that muscle loss occurs at age 30, one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit is to start resistance training. Many women shy away from lifting heavy weights due to fear of becoming more muscular than they would like. In reality, it would take hours of training a day to have the muscular physique of a female bodybuilder. Lifting heavy weights for both men and women can help keep your metabolism up and make managing weight easier.
How Much Exercise Do I Need?
One research paper found that combining aerobic and strength training with caloric restriction produced the greatest changes in fat percentage when compared with aerobic exercise and caloric restriction alone. According to the Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health, adults age 18 and above should aim for a minimum of two strength training sessions per week and 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise each week. Weight lifting can lessen the chance of loss of muscle that can sometimes occur in those who are severely restricting calories. Consuming protein within 30 minutes of the end of your exercise will also help you retain more muscle mass.* Protein also helps you feel fuller longer. In general, your diet should include at least between 40-50 grams of protein for women and approximately 56 grams for men.
Supplements for Weight and Fitness Support
There is no such thing as a magic pill for shedding excess weight. In fact, many pills marketed for dropping weight contain harmful ingredients with dubious claims. At Nature’s Lab we believe supplements can complement balanced eating habits and physical activity to enhance overall health.* Here are some of our picks for supplements that support your fitness.
Apple Cider Vinegar with Chromium: Apple cider vinegar may help you feel more full and satiated after eating. New studies suggest ACV may support the body's use of food as fuel, which supports weight management. Instead of grappling with the extremely sour taste of apple cider vinegar, you can try our easy-to-take capsules.* To further enhance fuel breakdown, this supplement includes 500 mcg of chromium per capsule.*
14-Day Colon Cleanse: A healthy gut is the foundation for all aspects of wellness, including getting fit.* Imbalances in the digestive tract may make it more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.* Our 14-Day Colon Cleanse provides beneficial gut-friendly ingredients such as flaxseed powder, aloe vera, MCT oil and probiotics to support your digestive system.*
Acetyl L-Carnitine: The amino acid L-carnitine helps transport fatty acids into cells for use as fuel. Research suggests supplementing with acetyl l-carnitine supports the breakdown of fatty acids and other food components which is important for energy metabolism.*
By taking care of your gut with plenty of fiber-rich foods, getting 150 minutes of aerobic exercise, completing two strength training workouts per week and taking in lean protein, especially right after working out, you can help your body achieve a fitter state.
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