If you’ve seen the number on the scale start to rise as you age, you might have shrugged it off as the result of an allegedly sluggish metabolism that naturally comes with becoming older.
Everyone knows that after the age of 40 it becomes harder and harder to lose weight and much easier to lose it. Right? Well, not really.
According to a recent study by Duke University scientists under the direction of evolutionary anthropologist Herman Pontzner, our metabolism remains constant from the age of 20 to 60, and this holds true throughout puberty, pregnancy, and even menopause.
Even after the age of 60, metabolism only gradually declines, at a rate of around 1% per year.
Researchers examined data from over 6,400 individuals from all over the world, whose ages ranged from infancy to 95 years old.
They discovered that after peaking at around one year old, metabolism slows down and the amount of calories burned each day decreases by about 3 percent annually.
They also looked into how many calories they burned every day.
This lasts through the end of adolescence, and beginning around age 20, the metabolism remains constant until around age 60.
Conclusion: If you haven’t reached 60 yet, your metabolism is probably not to blame for any recent weight gain.
Even if you are over 60, it won’t make much of a difference.
In fact, there is even some evidence suggesting that weight loss over the age of 60 may be even easier.
Pontzer told Dr. Oz that “Exercise for health is super important, but diet is your best tool for weight loss, for weight management.”
In other words, no matter how much you work out, if you don’t stick to a healthy diet, weight loss is virtually impossible.
Pontzner claims that the study’s conclusions can be motivating, enabling people to recommit to losing weight with the reassurance that their metabolism is still working just fine at any age.
He explained that “There’s not some invisible force that’s forcing you to gain weight. Instead, we can take control of our diet, focus on the calories that we’re taking in, and take control of our weight that way. We need to get back to basics, get away from processed foods. Focus on foods that are high protein, high fiber, whole foods, and that’s going to be the best way to manage your weight.”
Although exercising is essential for both our physical and mental health, it’s helpful to know that the classic calories in vs. calories out formula still holds true whether you’re in your 20s or 50s if you’re attempting to drop a few pounds.