Eli Brecher Nutritionist Metabolism

Metabolism 101: Why does metabolism slow down and can we boost metabolism?

You’ve probably heard that your metabolism slows down with age, but recent research suggests that what we once believed to be true about metabolism might not be so straightforward.

In this blog post, I’m sharing what our metabolism is, how it changes throughout our life, 4 reasons our metabolism slows down with age – and 3 things we can do about it.

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What is metabolism?⁠ 🤔

⁠🧪 Metabolism is the sum of the chemical reactions that take place within each cell as the body breaks down and coverts food into energy. ⁠

🔥 When many people say metabolism, what they mean is metabolic rate, which is the speed at which your body burns calories to meet its basic needs and keep your body alive.⁠

⁠Does our metabolism really decrease as we get older? 👇 ⁠

⁠🤓 Our metabolic rate does change as we age, but not as soon as we used to believe. A recent study found that our metabolism does not naturally decline until we reach our 60s. ⁠

👶🏻 The study found that our metabolism is at its highest at the age of 1, when babies burn calories 50 per cent fast than adults.⁠

⬇️ According to the study, our metabolism then slowly decreases by around 3% annually until we reach the age of 20, when it plateaus until around the age of 60. ⁠

⏰ Only then does it start to decline again, by up to 1% per year.⁠

Why does our metabolism slow down?

1️⃣ Loss of muscle mass – this naturally occurs with age, meaning we burn calories more slowly than we previously did. ⁠

2️⃣ Decline in physical activity – this tends to happen with age. A lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, further loss of muscle mass and slower metabolism. ⁠

3️⃣ Gender – this can affect our metabolic rate, with men typically having a faster metabolism due to having more muscle mass and less body fat than women. ⁠

4️⃣ Genes – these play a role in determining the size or your muscles and how easily you grow muscles, which impacts your metabolism as the greater your muscle mass, the faster your metabolism.⁠

Can you boost your metabolism? 🤔

🔥 Despite what you might have read online or in a magazine, there is no magic pill that will “boost” your metabolism!

Having said that, here are 3 top tips that can help increase energy expenditure (how many calories you burn) as you get older (and your metabolism starts to decline) 👇

1️⃣ Building and maintaining muscle mass through strength training (lifting weights) leads to a higher metabolism as you will be burning more calories at rest.

2️⃣ Consuming plenty of good quality protein may be helpful. Your body burns more energy digesting protein than digesting carbohydrates or fat, so a diet that includes lots of protein can help with energy expenditure as well as supporting muscle mass.

3️⃣ Supporting good gut health by nourishing the gut microbiome (trillions of organisms that live in the gut) can help too. The gut microbiome affects how you process the food that you eat and certain gut microbes have been linked with better metabolic control.


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