Metabolism Myths

meatabolismYour metabolism’s speed may seem like the secret to controlling your weight. Many of us wish we could change that speed because some people struggle to gain weight, while others feel like losing weight is impossible. Today, we will talk about metabolism and the myths about it.

Metabolism refers to the process of turning food and drinks into energy so your body can fuel functions such as breathing, digestion of food, and keeping your body at the right temperature. Calories are the fuel your body uses to make these processes happen.

Someone with a fast metabolism needs more calories than average for someone of their age, gender, and activity level. Having a slow metabolism, on the other hand, is rare and usually due to a medical problem such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome.

Your metabolism speed is not usually the cause for being overweight or obese. Weight gain regardless of your metabolism speed, is fundamentally caused by eating or drinking more calories than your body needs.

Metabolism Myths

Does exercising increase my metabolism?
The more muscle you build, the faster your metabolism is. That is why men, who generally have more muscle than women, have higher metabolisms than women.

Do spicy foods increase metabolism?
Yes, but not enough to make a difference in weight loss or calorie use.

Will eating late at night slow my metabolism?
Not really. Many people find themselves snacking mindlessly at night and may end up eating too many calories for the day, which causes weight gain.

Can medication slow my metabolism?
Yes, some prescription medication slows metabolism. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects.

More Metabolism Myths

What can you do about your metabolism?

  1. If you are concerned about your metabolism, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian.
  2. Since increasing your muscle mass increases your metabolism, add resistance exercise at least two times per week to your regular exercise routine.

Caution: Supplements and Metabolism

Products claiming to speed up your metabolism are often not approved by the FDA. Side effects of taking these products could be dangerous

Campus Tips:

  • Choose healthy, on-campus grab-and-go foods for between classes or late night studying.
  • Go to the Rec Center to join intramural sports, swim, take exercise classes, and try the gym equipment.

Prepared by Emily Berg, NACUFS Dietetic Intern
Hospitality Dietitian Mindy Diller, MS, RDN, LD 


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