We all have different metabolic rates, but have you noticed how some people seem to remain warmer, whilst others are perpetually cold?

The answer could lie in many problems, such as thyroid problems, ageing, hormones and medications. However, one of the quickest ways to warm up is to eat more carbohydrates!

Of course this is not an immediate licence to start eating anything carbohydrate-ridden such as cakes, chips or sweeties! However, when you are savvy about the KINDS of carbohydrates that you should be eating, increasing amounts of these can only bring on a little internal furnace…and a smile!

You see, our metabolic rate (how many calories our bodies burn up per day) is made up of the following:

BMR - Tabitha Hume

So, looking at this, you can see several major aspects of metabolism that you have control over:

  1. You can increase your basal metabolic rate by building more muscle. Do more weight-bearing exercise, carry your kids around more, and DO NOT skimp on your food (remember, eating too few calories decreases your muscle mass).
  2. Physical activity: do formal cardiovascular exercise regularly (go for a brisk walk daily; go to the gym, play a fun sport, go for a hike on the weekends), as well as taking the stairs not the lift, parking in the furthest parking space from the shopping centre entrance etc.
  3. Diet-induced thermogenesis. This is such an exciting concept, and is one, once understood, that can make a lot of sense as to why you should never skip meals.

Consider the aged. They eat very little (appetite often decreases with old age), and so they are always cold; sitting near a fire/heater and needing many layers of clothes. They are eating too little to keep their metabolism up.

Consider, too, a  patient with anorexia/ bulimia nervosa; she is classically seen in many layers of big, warm clothing, and even develop lanugo (extra fine hair covering their bodies) to keep her warm. She is eating too little to keep her metabolism up.

Consider yourself after having ‘starvation dieted’ (yes, I know many of you have….you don’t have to any more!); you are cold, tired and lack enthusiasm. When your body eventually forces you to eat enough carbohydrates to make up for the past 2 weeks you have starved for, you suddenly feel warm, toasty and relaxed. You’ve eaten enough to fire up your metabolism again! Thank goodness!

You see, different foods have different potentials for thermogenesis, and carbohydrates have a nicely highthermogenic reaction in the human body. Remember that up to 12% of our total metabolic rate depends on eating enough foods to fire up that thermogenesis! In an average woman burning up approx. 2000kCal/day, this would account for 240kCal per day! Important to remember when you think you are being ‘good’ by leaving out a meal to decrease calorie intake.

Interesting flipside to the usual “The less calories I eat, the better I am” myth!

The current Prudent guidelines recommend that carbohydrates should constitute between 50-60% of total calories consumed. Furthermore, these carbohydrates should be Low GI carbohydrates, such as Durum wheat pasta, Spekko/Tastic rice and Low GI bread.

Practically? An average person with a metabolism of 2000kcal/day would need 55% of this to come from low GI carbohydrates: (1100kCal per day). This works out to be approximately 13 slices Low GI bread, or 6.5 cups of pasta! Consider that when you try and decrease carbs! You’ll just be cold!!

Here’s a winter-warmer 1 day-plan for keeping warm and losing fat using the Low-GI and Low Fat methods of The X Diet:

Breakfast: 1 cup Bokomo oats, made with NO WATER BUT WITH ONLY MILK (and, of course, that must be fat free/skim milk!). Add 1 heaped tsp soft brown sugar and a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg. 1 fat free latte: 1 mug fat free milk, 1 tsp instant decaf coffee and 1 tsp sugar. 1 glass water.

Mid Morning: 1 cup cut pears with 1 heaped tablespoon of strawberry fat free yogurt. 1 mug tea with fat free milk and 1 sugar. 1 glass water (hot or cold – no difference).

Lunch: 10 baby tomatoes tossed in 1 tablespoon balsamic glaze. 1 mug Denny tinned cream of mushroom soup, with 1 low GI roll to dunk. 1 bowl strawberries with 2 tablespoons Ideal Milk Lite. 1 glass water (hot or cold, no difference).

Mid Afternoon: 1 naartjie. 1 mug fat free milk, heated, with 2 tsp Nesquik stirred in. 1 glass water.

Supper: 1 cup broccoli, with ½ cup Ina Paarman’s Reduced Fat Cheese sauce. 1 cup green beans, steamed and served with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 1 cup steamed Spekko rice, served with Brazilian chicken**. 1 firm, yellow (not green!) banana, sliced and served with ½ cup hot custard (custard powder, fat free milk and sugar, according to directions on back of custard powder, but add into the sauce lots of skim milk powder). ½ glass red wine and 1 glass water (hot or cold).

**Brazilian chicken quick-notes (Dry-fry onions and chicken strips, add chutney and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in fat free plain yogurt and chopped chives)

For full recipe, or others like it, go to Website Store

There you have it! Carbohydrates stimulate the metabolism, protect against muscle loss, keep you more mentally stable, and keep you warm! Just make sure you have enough of the RIGHT ones!

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