Anyone else read the recent NY Times article; “What We Think We Know About Metabolism May Be Wrong?”
Well, first let me just start by saying. Isn’t science wonderful?!
I saw this quote somewhere recently and love it, so I will share:
“Science is not the truth. Science is finding the truth. When science changes its opinion, it didn’t lie to you. It learned more.”
Well, some smart researchers learned something new about metabolism and have shared their findings in a publication called Science: Daily energy expenditure through the human life course
(And, hey – the study’s principal investigator, Herman Pontzer, is an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University–super cool).
So, what did they learn?
Apparently, metabolism and energy expenditure hasn’t been studied extensively, and so some accepted beliefs about metabolism just got refuted.
So, if you have been blaming that gradual increase of your midriff on your declining metabolism,
you may have to retire that excuse (at least until age 60).
Or, as a woman, if you complain that the men in your life can eat anything they want because they have a metabolic advantage, and all you have to do is look at a French fry and it ends up on your thighs, well – it turns out our metabolic rates aren’t that different from men folk after all.
I find these two points of their results particularly interesting:
POINT 1 –
“Central to their findings was that metabolism differs for all people across four distinct stages of life.
There’s infancy, until age 1, when calorie burning is at its peak, accelerating until it is 50 percent above the adult rate.
Then, from age 1 to about age 20, metabolism gradually slows by about 3 percent a year.
From age 20 to 60, it holds steady.
And, after age 60, it declines by about 0.7 percent a year.”
While there has been a longstanding assumption that everyone has a certain energy expenditure rate per pound of body weight, we now know that rate depends on age. However, it doesn’t appear that the weight we gain as we age can be blamed on a big drop off in metabolic rate.
POINT 2 –
“Once the researchers controlled for body size and the amount of muscle people have, they also found no differences between men and women.”
It is not surprising that we thought men had higher metabolisms, but what this study makes clear is the reason we believed this to be true. It is a proven fact that men, on average, have a higher percentage of muscle than women. It is also known that at any weight, the more muscle in your body, and the less fat, the higher your metabolic rate. That’s because muscle uses a lot more energy than fat even at rest. Therefore, it isn’t gender specific, its body composition specific.
While this study will shape medical and nutrition strategies in the future–for now, what it reconfirms is this:
If you want to lose weight, boost your metabolism by changing your body composition.
And how do you do this? Build muscle through weight training.
TAKE HOME POINT –
No matter your age or gender, it’s time to weightlift 2 -3 days per week.
(Not only will this increase your metabolism, but it also helps build functional strength and overall fitness)
Need help to create a customized strength training program?
Get Started with a FREE Session at Empower.