Having a Slow Metabolism Might Actually Make It Harder For You To Lose Weight, Says Study
I'm all about body positivity. I'm pro dad-bod, mom-bod, drunkenly-eating-a-whole-pizza-bod. I'm basically pro any bod as long as the bod owner is comfortable in and happy with it. Sometimes, though, despite our best efforts to love our beautiful bodies, in whatever shape they most naturally fit into, we want to get a bit more toned or a bit more fit. But we all have friends who can get in shape more easily than others — and it turns out that there's a scientific reason for that: People with fast metabolisms can lose weight easier than those with slower ones.
A new study published in the journal Diabetes found that there are the ability of people to lose weight depends on phenotypic differences in metabolism speed. In short, people with slower metabolisms have a harder time losing weight than their speedier metabolism-having counterparts. Slower metabolisms got the (sort of cute, sort of weird) pseudonym "thrifty metabolisms," while faster metabolisms were termed "spendthrift"; people with thrifty metabolisms tend to hold onto nutrients and calories more tightly when faced with a restricted diet, while spendthrift metabolisms have a tendency to shed calories even in light of a decreased caloric intake.
Here's what the researchers found.
12 obese volunteers at the National Institute of Health were placed on a severely restricted diet for six weeks. Every week began with one day of fasting, followed by six days where their normal caloric intake was slashed in half. Their "energy deficit," meaning the net calories they burned throughout the day, was measured and analyzed as they went.
Even accounting for variables such as race, sex, age, and starting weight, the study found that the volunteers with slower metabolisms lost less weight than did the people with faster metabolisms.
So, What Does That Mean?
Biology plays a factor in a lot of parts of your life, including your ability to lose weight. Just like we were wrong about willpower being a key factor in weight loss, we were wrong that it's totally in our control. But the researchers stressed that genes aren't your destiny: some people may have to work a little harder to lose weight, but it's in no way insurmountable.
Besides, losing weight isn't necessarily the same thing as getting fit, and what's healthy for one person may not be healthy for another. Just, y'know... something to bear in mind. Remember that whole body positivity thing? All bodies are amazing. Never forget that.
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