Feb 15 • 2M

Bite Sized: Episode 3

The ever-so-mysterious metabolism, why eating plants totally rocks, and if I should stop sleeping in the same bed as my partner.


Appears in this episode

Kiersten Hickman
Inspiring you to break up with dieting—and pick up a fork. Not a reader? Enjoy listening to the weekly essay (and all my bad jokes) in this mini-podcast, available for paid subscribers of Forkful.
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Welcome back to another episode of Bite Sized! A podcast for paid subscribers of Forkful where we have bite-sized discussions about the latest nutrition news. As you saw in my newsletter this past weekend, I am offering a 30% discount on all paid subscriptions for the rest of the month in honor of my 30th birthday, so if you have a friend or family member who you think would love this podcast, now is the time to share. I’ll put a link in the podcast notes so you can easily access it.

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First, let’s talk about the ever-so-mysterious metabolism. We just love to blame it for all of our health problems. Gaining weight? Probably should blame it on your slowing metabolism, which will have you vigorously Googling all of the ways to “boost” it and speed it back up.

If metabolism is the reason I should blame my body for holding more weight than what is considered “normal,” then I should have been working on trying to boost it since I was 13. Don’t get me wrong, I love my body and I’ve worked hard to even be able to say those words. But my hips just like to hold on to a little more love, and if my slowing metabolism was to blame, then it’s been slowing down since I hit my teenage years. Which doesn’t make sense at all, right?

A recent study actually made me feel validated in all of this, proving to us that your metabolism doesn’t slow that much as you age—and really doesn’t even budge until you hit 60. The research shows that after we hit age 60, our metabolism slows by 1% each year, meaning the body’s ability to burn calories decreases slightly. To put this into perspective, 1% of a 1,700-calorie day is just 17 calories. Not a big difference.

Sure, while there are certain things you can do that help your metabolism—like exercise and gaining muscle—this idea that eating hot peppers and drinking green tea can boost it is a myth, as well as eating more smaller meals throughout the day or getting more sleep. So if you’re being advertised some kind of metabolism-boosting product that you need to lose fat and get skinny, it is most likely bogus. I say most likely because as a journalist I’m taught to not make absolute claims unless I’m 100% positive. So I will say this—it is 99.9999999% bogus. The metabolism isn’t some kind of mysterious thing we can fix. It’s just something the wellness industry loves to market.


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