Metabolism in Adulthood Does Not Slow as Commonly Believed, Study Finds

Metabolic rate remains stable all through adult life, from age 20 to 60 years old

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Blaming those extra pounds on a slowing metabolism as you age? Not so fast.

A new international study counters the common belief that our metabolism inevitably declines during our adult lives. Well, not until we’re in our 60s, anyway.

Researchers found that metabolism peaks around age 1, when babies burn calories 50 percent faster than adults, and then gradually declines roughly 3 percent a year until around age 20. From there, metabolism plateaus until about age 60, when it starts to slowly decline again, by less than 1 percent annually, according to findings published Thursday in the journal Science.

To tease out the specific impact of age on metabolism, the researchers adjusted for factors such as body size (bigger bodies burn more calories overall than smaller ones) and fat-free muscle mass (muscles burn more calories than fat).

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