But before you start tinkering with the complex biochemical process that converts everything you eat and drink into energy, consider this: What if you’ve been thinking about the whole thing all wrong?
Dan Reardon, MD, CEO and co-founder of DNA testing company FitnessGenes, has made a career of studying the human body—and believes that there are some massive metabolism myths prevailing that need to be debunked.
Starting with the very concept of being able to speed it up. “There are 180 metabolic pathways, or things that affect your metabolism,” he asserts. “Everyone either thinks their metabolism is fast or slow, but that concept is flawed.”
Here, Dr. Reardon sets the record straight about the 4 biggest misconceptions about metabolism.
- The way people talk about metabolism is wrong
Instead of fast or slow metabolism, Dr. Reardon uses the terms “inefficient” and “efficient.” And get this: What people would consider “fast metabolism” is what he dubs as “inefficient.”
“It’s inefficient because it means the person has variations on their receptor cells that keep them from actually storing food as energy in the body,” he explains. “But people with what is perceived as a slower metabolism actually are running more efficiently because their cell receptors are turning the food into stored energy.”
And yes, that can lead to weight gain—but it’s not because things are running incorrectly. Your body is supposed to turn food into stored energy.
So as you learn more about how your body metabolizes certain foods and drinks, you can figure out when to eat—and how much—to keep things running optimally (without storing too much extra).
- If you’re an athlete, you want a “slow metabolism”
You’d think that having a fast—or, ahem, inefficient—metabolism would be the goal, since efficient metabolizers are at a higher risk of gaining weight. But Dr. Reardon says that if you’re active, you actually want the opposite for peak performance.
“People with an inefficient metabolism are going to have a harder time maintaining energy when it comes to endurance, whereas someone with an efficient metabolism is going to be able to store energy longer,” he explains. That said, he also points out that you have to be eating food that’s actually good for you to get the right type of fuel. Read more