There are a number of popular myths about metabolism that have long been proven incorrect. Here, we outline some of the more pervasive and explain why they are wrong.
- Eating after 8pm will make you gain weight
At a simple level, in order to gain weight, your calorie intake has to exceed your calorie expenditure. If you eat more than what you burn, you will most likely gain weight. This is true regardless of whether the calories consumed were at 8am or 8pm. (That said, it’s often those late afternoon and after-dinner snacks that increases our risk of weight gain. Chocolates, lollies, biscuits, chips, etc, typically exceed our daily energy requirements for a healthy balanced diet.)
- Caffeine, chilli and green tea increase your metabolism
It’s true that these foods will slightly increase metabolism but it is not significant enough to produce drastic changes to your overall weight. In order to gain a noticeable boost in metabolism, you would need to consume these foods all day and even then, the weight loss effect would most likely be due to their low caloric density.
- Metabolism decreases with age
Your metabolism will decrease slightly with age but this decrease is generally due to the decrease in muscle mass that is associated with ageing. This drop in metabolism can be minimised by including some resistance training in your exercise regime and consuming adequate protein to promote muscle growth and repair.
- Skinny people have a higher metabolism
A lot of people blame their ‘slow metabolism’ for their inability to lose weight, but in fact, those who weigh less will have a lower basal metabolic rate than those who weigh more. Further, as you lose weight, your metabolism will most likely decrease, not increase, as you will have less total body mass to burn calories.
- You have no control over your metabolism
This is not true. What you eat as well as exercise play a role in metabolism. Exercise is the best thing for improving metabolism; for every 30-60 minutes of moderate to vigorous high intensity exercise you do, your metabolism will remain elevated for up to 24 hours.