What causes the metabolism to slow down?
“People might have a fast, slow, or average metabolism, regardless of their body size and composition, says Dr Chih-Hao Lee, professor of genetics and complex diseases at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. health.harvard.edu. But age plays a major role in that.
You don’t have much influence over resting metabolism(BMR). Sadly, when metabolism slows down, our control tends to be minimal and negative.
What’s the difference between a Fast and Slow Metabolism?
A fast metabolism means your body has an efficient system for separating food and using nutrients efficiently. Slow may mean your body doesn’t break down food well, leading to weight gain.
Exercise regularly is the best thing you can do to boost your metabolism. Exercise increases levels of hormones like growth hormone and testosterone, both of which help increase it. It also helps build muscle mass, making your body stronger and better able to use fat as fuel.
Physical Activity and Metabolism Slow Down
While you can’t regulate your BMR, you can influence how many calories you burn by increasing your physical activity. More activity burns more calories and vice versa. Some individuals with a quick metabolism are more active and fidgety than others.
These are the main factors that slow metabolism.
Body metabolism converts food into energy. So, if your body burns calories slowly when you sleep, you probably inherited it from your parents.
Slimming down usually includes muscle loss, so the body is smaller and doesn’t have to work as hard every minute to stay running. But the slow down in metabolism following weight reduction is frequently much more than expected, given the person’s new body size.
While increasing the metabolic rate is difficult, researchers have discovered ways to reduce it, such as severe weight reduction programs.
Insufficient calorie intake slows it down. Although a calorie deficit is required for weight loss, too low a calorie intake may be harmful. Your body detects food scarcity and slows down when drastically reducing your calorie intake. For this reason, dieticians even suggest cheat meals once a week. It helps keep the metabolism normal and doesn’t let it slow down.
Studies on lean and overweight individuals show that eating less than 1,000 calories daily may significantly slow your metabolism.
Obese women who ate very few calories per day for 4–6 months had substantially lower resting metabolic rates. Moreover, their resting metabolic rates remained lower after increasing their caloric intake for five weeks.
Even modest calorie restriction may decrease metabolism. If you want to lose weight, don’t limit your calorie intake too much or too long.
Some hormonal diseases impact the thyroid. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce or release enough thyroid hormone. It slows your metabolism. For example, a diet lacking in iodine lowers thyroid function and slows it down. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid): the gland produces more hormones than needed, speeding it up.
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) causes unexpected weight gain, fatigue, sadness, and constipation. Graves’ illness is the most frequent cause. Hyperthyroidism causes increased hunger, weight loss, anxiety, and diarrhea.
Lack of Protein
Protein is vital for attaining and maintaining a healthy weight. A high-protein diet may help you feel full while increasing your body’s calorie-burning rate. The thermic impact of food is the increase in BMR after digestion (TEF).
Protein has a greater thermic impact than carbohydrates or fat. Studies show that protein temporarily boosts metabolism by 20–30%, compared to carbohydrates at 5–10% and fat at 3–4%.
So, lack of protein will result in high carbs or fat diets so that the thermic effect will be less, and metabolism will slow down.
Sedentism may reduce the number of calories you burn each day. Many individuals live sedentary lives, which may harm their metabolism and general health. Even simple physical activities like standing up, cleaning, and climbing stairs may help you burn more calories.
Non-exercise thermogenesis is this kind of activity (NEAT). A high level of NEAT may burn up to 2,000 more calories each day. But most individuals can’t afford such a big rise. Inactivity decreases daily calorie burn, so minimize sitting and enhance overall exercise.
Lack of Quality Sleep
Sleep is vital for a healthy body. Sleeping less may raise your chances of heart disease, diabetes, and depression. Insufficient sleep has been linked to slower metabolism and an increased risk of weight gain.
In one study, healthy individuals who slept 4 hours each night for five nights had a 2.6% reduction in resting metabolic rate. However, after 12 hours of sleep, their rates returned to normal.
Sleeping during the day instead of at night exacerbates insomnia. This sleep pattern throws off your body’s circadian cycles.
A five-week study found that sleep restriction and circadian rhythm disturbance reduced resting metabolic rate by 8%. Sleeping at night rather than during the day may help maintain your metabolic rate.
Sugar-sweetened beverages are unhealthy. High consumption has been related to insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity. Sugar-sweetened drinks have several harmful consequences due to fructose. For example, table sugar has 50% fructose, whereas high fructose corn syrup has 55%. Sugar-sweetened drinks may slow metabolism.
In a 12-week trial, overweight and obese individuals who drank 25% of their calories from fructose-sweetened drinks had a substantial decrease in metabolic rate.
Loss of Muscular Tissue
In general, individuals with more muscle than fat have a quicker metabolism. We acquire fat and lose muscle as we age. It partly explains why the metabolism slows with age. Gradual loss of muscular tissue and hormonal and neurological changes reduce it with age.
Weight training is a fantastic way to keep your metabolism going. Strength training has been proven to improve the metabolic rate in individuals with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Strength training seems to increase energy consumption. It increases muscular mass, which is a major component of fat-free mass. In addition, increasing your fat-free mass improves your resting calorie burn. But you have to fight the natural tendency to eat more to compensate for the increase in metabolism.
However, not performing any strength exercise may slow your metabolism, particularly during weight loss and aging.
Some Medicines Slow Down Metabolism.
Among them are numerous antidepressants and antipsychotics used to treat schizophrenia. Many other drugs, such as cardiac medicines, may do the same.
Water – An Interesting Phenomenon
Not that it means anything. According to modern science, if you drink cold water, the metabolism rate increases as the body brings water to body temperature, thus expending eight calories. Eight calories can not make any difference.
According to Ayurveda, drinking cold water slows metabolism as the whole body starts working towards bringing it up to body temperature instead of digesting food. So food stays undigested in the body. It also results in various other problems, like bloating, gases, etc.
While we must try and keep fit, our goal to stay fit can lead to a fast and slow down in metabolism if we are not cautious about it. We shouldn’t go overboard in doing the same. Balance and lifestyle change can only give us long-term weight loss results.
New Theory about the Slowdown in Metabolism
According to a recent study published by researchers from University College London, the metabolic rate of adults is the same at any given time during their lives. The findings contradict previous studies that have suggested that people’s metabolisms decline with age and are replaced by fat cells.
“We found no evidence for this,” said Dr David Jenkinson, lead author of the paper. “Our results suggest that there is little change in energy expenditure throughout an individual’s lifetime.”
But more research is needed on this.