You may have heard people attributing their weight gain to their slow metabolism. Well, that might not be the case. A new study published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science in August 2021 in Science counters the common belief that our metabolism inevitably slows down as we get older. As we typically gain weight over the years, we may wonder; Is it possible for us to boost our metabolism in order to burn more calories? Keep reading to find out how you can take control of your health.
There is no major change in metabolism between our 20s and 50s. The rate of increase starts to slow in the 30s and 40s, and plateaus in your 50s
According to the researchers, metabolism peaks at the age of one year, when infants burn 50% more calories than adults, and then gradually drops by about 3% per year until around the age of twenty – metabolism then plateaus, or stays the same, until the age of 60, when it begins to decline again by less than 1% every year.
The study also found that there is no real difference between male and female metabolic rates.
“People often want to blame obesity issues on metabolic rates — ‘Oh, I have a slow metabolism.’ This says no, actually, your metabolism is really stable throughout adulthood.”
– Herman Pontzer – Lead Researcher, Duke University
Rather than slow metabolism, the following factors are more likely to cause weight gain or obesity
- Consuming an excessive amount of calories
- Lack of physical activity
- Family history and genetics
- Certain medications
- Unhealthy habits, such as not getting enough sleep regularly
“When it comes to weight gain, the issue is the same as it has always been; People are eating more calories than they are burning.”
– Dr Samuel Klein – Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at WUSM
So how can you boost your metabolism naturally?
Your body naturally expends energy on basic tasks like breathing, digesting food, and pumping blood, but this only accounts for roughly 50% to 70% of the calories you burn on a daily basis. The rest are dependent upon your level of physical activity as well as the food that you choose to consume.
Here are some ways to boost your metabolism
Drink plenty of water
The more hydrated you are, the more quickly your body burns fat. Drinking water boosts your body’s metabolism and calorie loss, which helps you lose weight; moreover, it also suppresses your appetite, makes exercise easier and more efficient.
Eat a balanced diet
Reboot your metabolism by using the power of food. Crash diets and other calorie-restricted diets can slow down your metabolism. Some strict diets make your body break down muscle in order to get energy; therefore, it’s easier to gain fat once you stop. A small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours can help keep your metabolism active and helps you avoid feeling too hungry and overeating.
Establish healthy fitness habits
Physical activity accounts for up to 30% of total daily calorie burn. Exercise is still one of the most effective ways to increase metabolic rate. Strive to make physical activity a part of your daily routine – this could entail walking or cycling to work for all or a part of your commute. Instead of riding the elevator to save time, take the stairs and boost your metabolism.
Key takeaway for your health
A slowing metabolism is not responsible for gaining weight as we age, as we once thought. Rather, lower levels of physical activity and choice of diet may be contributing to this. Take back control of your health by increasing physical activity, drinking lots of water and eating a balanced diet.