Metabolism myths vary

Published 12:22 pm Monday, March 6, 2006

By Staff
Janet Peterman – Personal trainer
I get sooooo many questions about metabolism that I thought I would clear them up once and for all. Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns calories. So read carefully and let's put to rest some metabolism myths.
Can a person have a &#8220slow” or &#8220fast” metabolism?
Definitely. You can take 20 people with the same height, weight and body-fat composition, and their metabolic rates will vary considerably.
Is your metabolism genetically determined?
Yes. To a large degree, your metabolism is not under your control. Our advertising industry has made people feel they must all look like thin models, but genetics just don't allow all of us to look like that. The strong link between metabolism and genetics has been affirmed by a landmark study of male twins. For 100 days, 12 pairs of lean, young twins were fed 1,000 calories a day more than they had been consuming. The siblings gained about the same amount of weight in about the same places on the body. Among the different pairs, however, the weight varied greatly-from 9 1/2 pounds to 29 pounds.
Can exercise speed up metabolism?
Exercise significantly increases metabolism during the activity and for one to two hours afterward. Over weeks or months, the extra calories can add up to several pounds. However, research has not yet shown that exercise can cause a long-term increase in your resting metabolic rate.
What type of exercise is most likely to increase metabolism?
Strength training may have a greater effect on metabolism than aerobic exercise. That's because metabolic rate is directly related to your &#8220fat-free” weight-your body weight minus the fat. Theoretically, if you can increase your muscle mass, you should be able to increase your metabolic rate
How do eating habits affect metabolism?
When you overeat, your metabolism shoots way up. You start to feel warm and a sweat breaks out on your forehead-that's you body scrambling to get rid of the excess calories. The opposite occurs when you diet. Your body senses a threat to its stability, causing your metabolism to decrease by as much as 30%.
Is there any advantage to eating an early dinner versus a late one?
You'll burn more calories if you're active after a meal than if you're not. So if you eat early, you'll store fewer calories than if you eat just before going to sleep.
Does metabolism slow with age?
There tends to be a 3 percent decrease every 10 years. However, the slowdown is likely due to a decrease in muscle mass caused by inactivity rather than the process of aging itself.

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