Metabolism and you: huge new study may shake your weight loss theories to the core

Can You Speed ​​Up Your Metabolism For Faster Weight Loss Results? This has been on the minds of many dieters for the past few years, even decades, especially since the media started writing about the “obesity epidemic”. We were told that metabolism gradually slows down as we age and our weight gain in our 30s and 40s is due to the aging process. Research recently published in Science could put all of these “facts” and more to rest.

As the New York Times reports, the research paper is called “Daily Energy Use During the Course of Human Life,” and although it was only recently published, the study is the result of decades of research involving numerous universities and contributors. In fact, more than 80 co-authors are listed.

“This new research is certainly groundbreaking and raises many new questions,” says Olga Hamilton, Head of Nutrigenetic Science at NGX (Nutri-Genetix). “Hopefully future research can answer all of these questions and help fight obesity.”

The paper likely inadvertently exposes a number of metabolic facts, including the rate of decrease in energy expenditure among the sexes with age. Of course, there is much research that has previously attempted to unmask similar metabolic facts, but what makes this particular research credible is its scope: Over 6,400 people were observed between the ages of 8 days and 95 years using what is known as “double-labeled water” Method”.

What is the double labeled water method?

As explained by the Cambridge Biomedical Research Center, “The Double Labeled Water (DLW) technique measures total carbon dioxide production by observing the different rates of elimination of a bolus dose of the stable isotopic tracers 2 ^ H (deuterium) and 18 ^ O. Combined with an estimate of the respiratory quotient, this gives an estimate of the total energy consumption. “

The double-labeled water method is currently the gold standard for evaluating the total energy consumption of “free living” people. Its precision has also been confirmed by other studies.

new metabolic study: plate full of healthy foods

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The beginning of a new era

Thanks to decades of collaboration between researchers, research has shed light on the metabolic differences in humans, or rather on their lack: As it turns out, you can no longer attribute your weight gain to a slow metabolism.

The paper states that “energy consumption (weight-adjusted) in newborns was the same as that of adults, but increased significantly during the first year of life. It then gradually decreased until young people achieved adult characteristics that were maintained between the ages of 20 and 60. Older people showed reduced energy consumption. The tissue metabolism therefore does not seem to be constant, but rather to go through transitions at critical points. “

To translate this and other parts of the study into something more understandable for an everyday Joe, the study suggests that there are four metabolic stages:

  • From one week to the first year of life, your metabolism is at its highest level, “accelerated until it is 50% above the adult rate”.
  • Surprisingly, between the ages of 1 and 20, metabolism gradually slows down by about 3% per year
  • What’s even more surprising is that between the ages of 20 and 60, from a physiological point of view, your metabolism doesn’t change at all anyway
  • From the age of 60, it slows down by around 0.7% per year

Based on this data, the sad truth is that your weight gain is likely the result of excessive energy expenditure over a long period of time, uncomfortable as it sounds.

Likewise, the metabolism does not seem to decrease at the beginning of menopause, as previously assumed. “That is a positive result, because I believe that if a person / woman stays” healthy “and fit, there should be no reason to gain weight at least until the age of 60,” adds Olga.

Understanding fat and its effects on the body is a whole different story that we won’t get into here. In summary, it is almost impossible for people who have accumulated a lot of fat over decades to lose weight in a meaningful and sustainable way.

Because the body always defends itself against the breakdown of fat, which serves as an energy reserve and is indispensable for daily energy management, no matter how big it is. Not an impossible task, but not a walk in the park either.

And it’s just age-related metabolic facts that have been abolished. As the New York Times article mentioned above says that “once the researchers checked their height and muscle mass” [mass] People have, they haven’t found any differences between men and women. “Everyone has to work equally hard to lose weight, it seems.

new metabolic study: person walks over a bridge

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Some might get discouraged when seeing these results. It is similar to Nietzsche: “God is dead”: From now on you can no longer blame the creeping weight gain on aging – it is really only because you eat too much over a long period of time and lead a sedentary lifestyle.

In terms of training effectiveness, the paper at least apparently throws a spanner in the works. Don’t be fooled, however, because exercise is still the best way to keep the body in check in the long run. After all, the researchers have “checked for … the muscle mass” [mass] People have, “which means that when you have more muscle, you burn calories.

“Muscle mass has always been viewed as a much more metabolically active tissue (compared to bone mass and fat mass). The more muscle a person has, the more calories they burn,” explains Olga.

“It’s a ‘use it or lose it’ situation with muscle mass as we get older,” says Matt Gardner, a nutritional therapist specializing in sports nutrition in excess calories. “

This does not mean that you need to start pumping iron at the nearest gym you can find as soon as possible, nor that you need professional bodybuilding-grade lean muscle mass to increase your basal metabolic rate efficiently. Many different forms of resistance training can help you build muscle mass, including kettlebell training, resistance band training, suspension trainer sessions (with your body weight as resistance), and more.

New Metabolism Study: Person Performing the Bench Press Exercise

Pumping irons is strictly optional

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Of course, strength training is only part of a successful, long-term weight loss program. You’ll also need to change your diet – this got you the pickle in the first place – and burn the calories through some form of cardio exercise. Running or biking might come to mind as viable options, but activities like brisk walking can also help shed some of that stubborn fat.

“It is not surprising that research has also found that the metabolic patterns of the population, although very different, differ by up to 25% more slowly or quickly,” says Olga, referring to several different factors that may determine or influence our metabolism could. “

Remember that weight gain took years; it won’t go away overnight no matter what Instagram or TikTok influencers try to lead you to believe. As long as you persevere, you will eventually see sustainable weight loss results.

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