According to a new study, all conventional wisdom about metabolism, such as the belief that we’re prone to putting on pounds year after year from age 20, or that women have a slower metabolism than men, is wrong.
When researchers looked at data from nearly 6,500 people, they found that our metabolism differs across four distinct stages of life:
- Up until age 1: energy needs shoot up until babies burn calories 50% faster for their body size than adults
- From age 1 to about age 20: our metabolism slows by about 3% a year.
- From age 20 to 50: our metabolism holds steady.
- After age 60: our metabolism declines by about 0.7% a year
- After age 90: people need 26% fewer calories each day than someone in midlife
The study also found that there are no significant differences between the metabolism of men and women.
- Pontzer, H., Yamada, Y., Sagayama, H., Ainslie, P. N., Andersen, L. F., Anderson, L. J., et al. (2021). Daily energy expenditure through the human life course. Science, 373(6556), 808–812. doi: 10.1126/science.abe5017. Retrieved from: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/373/6556/808