Despite good intentions, many people find themselves gaining weight as they settle into adulthood. But is decreased metabolism to blame? Find out here.
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Despite good intentions, many people find themselves gaining weight as they settle into adulthood. One common explanation is that a person’s metabolic rate slows down as they move into middle age. However, a recent study published in the journal Science indicates that this isn’t true.
Instead, the study found that metabolic activity increases rapidly during the first year of life, then gradually slows down during childhood and adolescence. Metabolic activity then remains surprisingly stable from about age 20 to age 60 and starts to slowly decline from there.
Metabolism includes all the chemical reactions that cells use to produce energy. This energy is required for a heart to beat, muscles to work, neurons to send signals, food to be digested and everything else your body does. When discussing diet and nutrition, people are usually concerned about the metabolic rate, which is how fast your body converts food into energy. People who consume more calories than they use for energy will gain weight, while people who consume fewer calories than they use for energy will lose weight.
While this seems simple, the details are more complex. For example, researchers are still learning about whether sugar makes a person feel hungry or full. At this point in time, scientists also don’t have a very good idea of how metabolism changes over the course of a lifetime or even how the body’s energy expenditure might change over the course of a day.