In a new study from Duke University, researchers found your metabolism actually is at its highest when you’re 1 year old.
It then gradually declines through your childhood and teen years, until it reaches a surprisingly consistent level that people maintain throughout adulthood until they reach senior status.
The team found energy expenditure is really stable throughout adulthood, from 20 to 60 years old.
The findings completely shake up what was known about energy expenditure over a person’s lifespan. The usual milestones assigned to a person’s development—puberty, middle age, menopause—don’t line up with how humans’ basic metabolism actually performs,
People often want to blame obesity issues on metabolic rates—’Oh, I have a slow metabolism.’ But this study says no, actually, at least on a population level from a broad view, the metabolism is really stable throughout adulthood.
In this study, the team analyzed the average calories burned by about 6,600 people as they went about their daily lives in 29 countries around the world. The people varied in age from 8 days to 95 years.
People drink water in which the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the water molecules have been replaced with naturally occurring “heavy” forms.
Urine tests then show how quickly they are flushed out, providing an accurate estimate of daily energy expenditure in normal daily life.
Pooling metabolic data from multiple labs into a single database gave researchers a chance to take a broader look at how the way people burn calories changes as they age.
The team found that newborns come into the world with a metabolism similar to that of an adult.
Soon after birth, metabolism starts to rage as babies begin to grow, tripling their birth rate by age 1.
After the initial energy surge of infancy, your metabolism slows by about 3% each year until you reach your 20s, where it levels off into a new normal that will be maintained throughout adulthood.
Even though teenage growth spurts occur, the researchers didn’t find any increase in the daily calorie needs of adolescents after they took body size into account.
And then at age 60, your metabolism starts to decline as your organs and cells become less and less active. The slowdown is gradual, only about 0.7% a year, but it adds up.
In addition, men and women didn’t differ at all. Even during pregnancy, a woman’s calorie needs didn’t increase after factoring in the weight she gains as the fetus grows within her.
These results suggest that people have a stronger role in shaping their own body size throughout adulthood.
Watching what you eat and exercising regularly can have a strong impact on your weight, particularly as you enter middle age and your habits change.
If you care about metabolism, please read studies about these four ancient herbs may benefit your gut and metabolism and findings of these things may determine your risk of metabolic syndrome.
For more information about metabolism and your health, please see recent studies about Yale scientists develop new drug to treat metabolic syndrome.
The study is published in Science. One author of the study is Herman Pontzer.
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