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The One Major Lie About Your Metabolism Women Need to Stop Believing, New Study Says

An encouraging discovery that will shift your understanding.

If you've been certain that your metabolism began to slow down years ago, well… you'll definitely want to read this. A new study suggests your metabolism stays steady for a way longer range of time than you've previously thought. Check out why your fifties really are the new forties… and thirties… and, even twenties.

A study published last month in Science examined how humans' energy expenditure changes over our lifetime. The concept of "energy expenditure" translates in large part to calorie-burning—so this study's question was, from birth through adulthood, how does the body's efficiency change in its use of input (food) for energy?

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An international team of more than 80 researchers in biology, anthropology, nutrition, and other fields investigated by analyzing 40 years of data from 6,500 participants (males and females) who ranged from eight days old to 95 years. To measure variations in metabolism, the scientists employed a technique that estimates the amount of carbon dioxide the body eliminates.

You might be thinking they found what we've known all along: That metabolism starts to decelerate around our late twenties and just continues to taper off from there. Actually, that wasn't the researchers' discovery at all.

They found that our metabolism actually stays the same from around age 20 until our early sixties! And, even though the scientists had hypothesized that menopause would cause metabolism to slow for women, that period of hormonal changes that typically occurs in the late forties into the fifties wasn't a huge factor—said the study's lead author Herman Pontzer, PhD, an evolutionary anthropologist: "We just didn't see that."

So stay healthy, stay active, and stay encouraged: As it turns out, your age may not be the biggest predictor of your body's ability to maintain balance and stay trim.

This same metabolism study revealed lots more compelling discoveries—be sure to check it out.

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Krissy Gasbarre
Krissy is a senior news editor at <em>Eat This, Not That!</em>, managing morning and weekend news related to nutrition, wellness, restaurants and groceries (with a focus on beverages), and more. Read more