Many of us are carrying a little bit more weight now than when we were in our 20s. However, as tempting as it is to blame this weight gain on a slowing metabolism, that may not actually be the case, according to a study released last week in the journal Science.
In this study, scientists found that once you adjust for weight and body fat percentage, metabolic rates remain stable from ages 20 to 60. What this means is that during that time, your body doesn’t change how many calories it burns just because of your age—instead, your metabolism is tied to your body size and the amount of body fat versus lean mass that you carry.
Practically speaking, this means that if you are gaining weight, it’s not because your metabolism is slowing down. Instead, there are probably other factors at play, such as diet and exercise, which are all too easy to let slip in face of all the adult pressures that tend to hit when you are in your 30s and 40s.
When you are faced with a stocked pantry of highly processed food after a long, exhausting day from juggling work, family, and other responsibilities, it’s easy to eat just a little bit more, while also struggling to find the time to get in the activity your body needs to maintain your muscle mass. Over time, this adds up.
See Why a Slowing Metabolism Probably Isn't Causing Your Weight Gain
For most of your lifespan, your age doesn't affect your metabolism.