People often attribute weight gain to a "slow metabolism," but the body's metabolism is rarely the reason why people are overweight or obese. Metabolism describes how a person's body turns the food they consume into energy.
How Can I Prevent Weight Gain?
Everyone's metabolism does not work at the same rate, and one person's metabolism does not work at the same rate throughout their life.
Metabolism also changes as a person ages. This is because younger people tend to have more muscle mass, and with age, the body turns some of its muscle mass into fat. Fat requires less energy to maintain itself than muscle, which means that less energy - and therefore, fewer calories - are needed as a person ages.
This problem is often compounded for women, whose bodies are made up of higher percentages of fat than those of men. This means that many people, especially menopausal women, can gain weight even when they have not altered their diets or the amount of food they are exercising.
What Are Weight Gain Myths That Should Be Ignored?
People are constantly bombarded by messages and advertisements telling them what to eat and what is healthy and good for them. However, a lot of these messages are not factual, correct, or even safe. It is important to understand the source of the information you consume in order to figure out if they have a hidden agenda.
A super food causes weight loss
Chia, kale, goji berries, and green tea are all good for you and can be part of a balanced diet. However, as with all foods given a label like "super food" or "magic weight loss solution," incorporating these foods alone into your diet cannot cause you to lose weight. The only natural way to healthily lose weight is to eat less and exercise.
Fad diets can help
It seems like everyone from Gwyneth Paltrow to Oprah Winfrey has a new diet that they want everyone to try out. You've probably also heard someone extol the benefits of their paleo, gluten-free, or raw diet. Evidence that these types of diets can help you to lose weight is negligible.
Carbohydrates are bad for you
Carbohydrates are one of the building blocks of a healthy diet, and there is no reason they should be seen as unhealthy. However, just like with anything else, it is important to not eat carbohydrates in excess.
"Reduced fat" foods are healthier
Food that is labeled low fat is usually higher in sugar, and if this is not burned off though exercise, it can turn to fat in the body. Often, it is just as good or better to eat the original version that contains less sugar.
It is important to remember that regular exercise and a healthy and balanced diet are the most efficient ways to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. If you have questions about how to lose weight healthily, consult your doctor or someone with medical expertise.
- Hensrud, D. (2015). Is it possible to be overweight because of a slow metabolism? Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/slow-metabolism/faq-20058480
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508