Metabolism. It seems as though everything revolves around it—weight gain, energy levels, shedding pounds—but should we believe all of the cautionary tales we hear or heed advice regarding it? We’ve already shared three such tales and now we turned to Nilli Grutman, certified nutritionist and founder of Healthy Roots Nutrition, to dispel five more myths about this serious subject.
Higher body weights directly correlate with lower metabolisms, and vice versa.
“Yes and no,” says Grutman. She explains that individuals who are naturally thin regardless of their diets—those who can regularly polish off a pint of ice cream and never gain a pound—have naturally more efficient metabolisms. “Individuals who are fit or thin and follow healthy, whole food diets,”—meaning people who exercise regularly and are in balanced health—“also have efficient metabolisms,” Grutman explains. However, she goes on to say that there are individuals with high metabolisms that find themselves overweight because their diets and lifestyles do not allow them to maintain lower weights. On the opposite side of the spectrum, Grutman says that there are also individuals, like those who regularly starve themselves of have some form of an eating disorder, who are thin and have very slow and inefficient metabolisms. “And then there are also individuals who are not thin and have inefficient metabolisms,” she adds, speaking of those with sluggish thyroids and livers and who have too much stress on their backs.
If you skip a meal, your metabolism slows down.
“Yes!” says Grutman. “Food timing plays a big role in maintaining a healthy metabolism,” she says. “Constantly snacking can damage your body’s ability to burn energy, and waiting too long to eat can increase the body’s ability to store energy. The general rule of thumb is to eat something healthy every 3-4 hours—no sooner, no later—regardless of whether it’s a meal or a snack.”
Everything you eat after 8 p.m. turns to fat.
“Not true,” says Grutman. “Generally, people tend to load up on calories at the end of the day, probably as a way to relieve stress, and thus the most common time for reckless eating is at night,” she explains. “However,” she adds, “there is nothing inherent about the time of day at which you eat that indicates how much of your energy will turn into fat.”
We have no control over our metabolism and can’t change it.
“Genetics definitely effect metabolism,” says Grutman. “However, that does not mean that people who are born with slower metabolisms are doomed to have a slow metabolism for their entire lives. People can definitely speed up their metabolisms!”
Metabolism is the same for men and women, no matter the age.
“Many factors—think hormones, organ function, muscle mass and nutrient deficiencies—affect the metabolism. “Testosterone can help speed up metabolism, which is why men can have faster metabolisms in comparison to women,” she explains. “Additionally, men also tend to have more muscle mass, which is another reason why men can have faster metabolisms in comparison to women. Unfortunately, hormones tend to become imbalanced with older age and can negatively impact metabolism.”
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