Most people are told that they cannot eat the same way they used to eat when they were young. This is because metabolism tends to slow with age. Increasing weight is easy but losing it is difficult. A few reasons for this can be natural ageing of metabolic process, being less active, muscles loss. Many things can be done to combat this age-related drop in metabolism.
According to new research, the age at which the metabolism starts to slow down is much later than people previously thought. As per the New York Times report this week, over 80 researchers from 63 teaching institutions submitted data for the study. The institute was located throughout the Caribbean, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. The data had been taken over 40 years from 6,500 people between eight days old and 95 years.
The study found out that four distinct stages of life influence the speed of metabolism. Infants upto 1-year-old have the fastest metabolism. After one year of metabolism declines slowly to adult levels by around 20 years of age. In adulthood, the metabolism remains stable (20-60 years) and even during pregnancy. The energy expenditure declines in older adults by up to 20% till 95 years. The researcher found no difference in energy expenditure between males and females when other factors were controlled. Previously it was thought that menopause would reduce energy usage, but that was not the case as found by the researchers.
According to top health experts, metabolism is all the chemical reactions that keep the body alive, including a breakdown of food and drink to prepare or build body and energy. At any given point in time, thousands of chemical reactions are taking place to keep cells healthy, thriving, and functioning as per research. It determines how many calories are burned in a day. More calories are burnt when metabolism is fast. The speed of metabolism is affected by four key factors like the resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of food (TEF), Excercise, non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Age, height, muscle mass, and hormonal factors also affect metabolism.
As per the research, two chemical processes take place for metabolism to happen. These are catabolism and anabolism, which are regulated to remain in balance. Health experts say catabolism is the process where drinks and foods are broken into a simpler form, which releases energy. Anabolism is a process where energy is used for body functions. Not much research has happened to suggest food, drinks, and supplements that would increase metabolism. But through healthy eating and physical activity, the use of energy can be influenced.
The speed of metabolism is affected by muscle mass, activity levels, and various other factors. The rate at which the metabolism slows down varies from person to person. On an average daily basis, in research, it was found that people 60-74 years of age burned only 24 fewer calories, while those over 90 burned 53 fewer calories.
Reasons metabolism slows with age –
Many studies have found that metabolism slows down with age, and there are many reasons for this. The speed of the metabolism is affected by the level of the activity. Both exercise and non-exercise activity make up roughly 10–30% of calories burnt daily. For very active people number can be high as 50%. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the burnt calories other than exercise like standing, dishwashing, and doing other household chores. Older adults are less active and burn calories through activity.
Research shows that over a quarter of Americans aged 50–65 don’t exercise outside of work. For people over 75, this increases to over a third. Through NEAT older people burn 29% fewer calories. Staying active help prevent this drop in metabolism. Regular exercise can prevent metabolism from slowing down with age.
As per studies average adult loses 3–8% of muscle during each decade after 30, and at the age of 80, there are 30% fewer muscles than at the age of 20. Sarcopenia is the pross of loss of muscles with age and also slows down metabolism. Other reasons can include consuming fewer proteins and calories and decreasing the production of hormones, such as estrogen, testosterone, and growth hormone.
The chemical reactions in the body determine how many calories are burnt while in reset. These reactions are driven by two components mitochondria and sodium-potassium pumps. The 1st one creates energy for cells, and the 2nd one helps generate nerve impulses and muscle and heart contractions. With age, as per research, both components lose efficiency and a thus slower metabolism.
Prevention of metabolism slowing down with age –
- One way to support metabolism is to eat protein, carbohydrates, and fats in proper balance. Eating a combination of fats, proteins, and carbs every few hours keeps metabolism turn on and blood sugar level in control.
- Eat snacks between meals boosts metabolism by keeping blood sugar levels controlled. This lowers the level of fat-storing hormones, insulin and helps to release the fat-burning hormone.
- When a person wants to boosts metabolism, then calories should not be counted. If the body doesn’t get the energy, it needs its fightbacks and saves energy by slowing down metabolism.
- If the body is not properly hydrated, then it slowers metabolism, so keep the body hydrated. Drink enough water.
- Fibers help to boost metabolism. Beans are a good source of fibers and proteins and help to burn lots of calories during digestion.
- The metabolic rate is increased by monosaturated fat by burning fat without any decrease in calories. It also prevents the accumulation of sugar in the bloodstream. This promotes stable blood sugar levels and boosts metabolism for hours after eating by allowing the body to release a turbo-fat-burning hormone.
- Reduce stress in life. Cortisol is the stress hormone that causes blood sugar to rise when stressed, which slows the metabolism.
- Adequate sleep is necessary for good metabolism. Research has shown that people who donot sleep properly cannot control their blood sugar levels and are often feel hungry.
- Slowing of metabolism can be prevented by weight lifting and resistance training. It offers the benefits of exercise and preserves muscles mass, and these are two factors that affect the speed of metabolism.
- High-intensity interval training can prevent the slowing of metabolism.
- Drinking green tea can increase metabolism by 4-5%. It contains caffeine and plant compounds which increase the resting metabolism.
- Eat more protein in the evening. The research found that people who ate protein in the evening snacks had a higher resting metabolic rate the next morning than those who ate nothing.
- Cut out artificial sugar, which confuses the body’s normal metabolic response to sugar and increases appetite. Diet drinks are linked with metabolic syndrome and weight gain.
- Irregular eating schedules can slow metabolism. A person must follow a proper eating schedule.
As per studies, metabolism tends to slow with age. Being less active, aging internal components, and losing muscle mass all lead to a slow metabolism. There are many ways to fight to age and preventing slow metabolism. These include sleeping well, drinking green tea, eating proteins, vitamins, carbs, doing physical activity, etc. A good metabolism is key to stay healthy and fit, and it is needed the most when a person ages.