Slow Metabolism: Is It to Blame for Weight Gain?

According to Donald Hensrud, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic, there is such a thing as a slow metabolism. But, Hensrud says, it is quite rare – and usually not to blame for being overweight or obesity. These weight problems are determined by diet and exercise.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism is the process by which the body converts food into energy. Even when you are at rest, the body needs energy to fuel bodily functions like breathing, circulating blood and repairing cells.

The number of calories you burn to fuel these basic functions is called your basal metabolic rate or BMR.

Factors that affect your BMR

There are several factors that affect your basal metabolic rate:

Body size and composition – if you are larger or if you have more muscle mass, your body burns more calories even at rest. This means that overweight people are more likely to have faster metabolic rates, contrary to popular belief.

Gender – men tend to have more muscle mass and less body fat than women [of the same age], so they burn more calories.

Age – aging reduces muscle mass which slows down the rate at which you burn calories.

Factors that contribute to weight gain

Hensrud says, instead of focusing on metabolism; consider the following factors that contribute to weight gain:

  • Eating to many calories
  • Not getting enough exercise
  • Genetics and family history
  • Medications
  • Unhealthy habits like skipping breakfast or not getting enough sleep.

Conditions that affect metabolism

There are medical conditions that can affect your metabolism. These include hypothyroidism nd Cushing’s syndrome. Both conditions are quite rare, especially Cushing’s syndrome. Visit your doctor to check for these conditions. You can also consult your doctor to recommend healthy changes that you can make.

Source: Mayo Clinic