Myths About Metabolism You Should Stop Believing

myths about metabolism

Everyone knows somebody who eats all the time but never seems to gain weight.

Do they have fast metabolism?

Or is it something else that they’re doing that you don’t know of.

We’d all love to have that kind of fat burning ability. And because of that desire, quite a number of myths about metabolism have risen over the years.

You’ve probably heard some so-called expert tell you a few myths here and there.

In this article, we go through a number of different advice we’ve all heard about the body’s metabolic rate, and explain why some are more myth than reality.

For each we also explain what’s the truth.


Myth #1: Thin People have Fast Metabolism, Fat People Slow Metabolism

ways to boost metabolism

This one is one of the biggest myths as far as metabolism is concerned.

Someone who’s thin doesn’t automatically mean they have fast metabolism. That may look like the reason that they’re thin but more often than not it probably isn’t the case.

In some cases though we see those slim individuals who chow down on everything from fast food to large meals at the buffet table and never gain an inch in their waistline.

So what’s the deal?

The Truth: Reality is, thin people actually have slower metabolic rates compared to larger individuals. The reason is at rest their smaller frame requires their body to use less energy.

Larger individuals however, need more energy to get blood to all parts of their body. Because of the bigger area of coverage needed, the body’s resting metabolism is faster.

With this issue, it’s a relative thing.

However, there are some people who are genetically gifted. Those who are born with an ectomorph build often have very fast metabolism. But that’s genetic and specific to them.

Other thin individuals could be doing a lot of different things which causes them to be thin. For example if they smoke, go to the gym all the time or don’t eat as much at other times.


Myth #2: When You Get Older, There’s No Way to Stop Your Slowing Metabolism

old people

This next myths has to do with aging. And many people believe that there’s no way to halt the body’s slowing metabolism because it’s a “part of life”. And by that, you can only go with it for the ride.

The Truth: It is true that the body’s metabolism slows down as we age. For that reason we aren’t able to eat as much as we used to when we were younger without gaining weight or seeing it result in a bigger waistline.

Part of the body’s aging process is that our muscles and organs slowly deteriorate. And while this is inevitable, we aren’t powerless in this situation.

The one thing that’s on our side when it comes to controlling our metabolic rates is body composition.

Muscle, when compared to fat, burns more calories.

This means that if you have two individuals who weigh the same, with one well built and fit and the other out of shape, the one who has more muscle has a faster resting metabolic rate.

Thanks to this, even as we age, we are able to stave off the slowing metabolism by working out. More importantly, using resistance training.

This is one of the reasons why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in its 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that people should do 2 types of exercise:

  • Aerobic activity and
  • Muscle strengthening activity

By adding resistance training or weight bearing exercises we are able to build muscle which helps stave off the slowing down of our metabolism.


Myth #3: Six Small Meals Boosts Your Metabolism

small meal

This is another very popular myth. According to it, by splitting the normal 3 meals per day to 5 or 6 smaller meals you’ll be able to increase your body’s metabolic rate.

The concept behind this theory is that by eating small meals more frequently you stimulate your metabolism throughout the day.

The Truth: As nice as that sounds, it would be great if things really worked out that way.

However, the truth is, there is no difference between eating many small meals throughout the day or eating the 3 regular meals.

What really matters is how many calories you consume.

If you eat 6 meals per day and end up consuming less calories then you’ll lose weight. However, if you happen to consume more calories in the process, then you aren’t going the see you weight go down.

In a study done by the University of Ottawa, researchers found that with low calorie diets, there was no extra weight loss when participants increased meal frequency to 6 times a day from 3 meals daily.

In the end, what counts is how much calories you end up consuming. Reducing the amount of calories helps with weight loss while adding calories gains weight.

While the concept may have sounded great in theory, eating frequent small meals to stimulate your metabolic rate for weight loss is a myth.


Myth #4: Eating Chili Peppers and Green Tea Speed Up Your Metabolic Rate

hot peppers

Among the two more popular items that are known to boost metabolism are chili peppers and green tea. So the saying goes that by eating chili peppers you can increase your body’s metabolism.

The same is true when it comes to green tea. That drinking this healthy beverage will allow you to speed up your existing metabolic rate.

The Truth: This is a yes and a no. So it isn’t totally a myth.

The yes part falls into that these 2 foods do actually boost your metabolism.

For chili as well as other spicy foods, their capsaicin content helps them increase the body’s fat burning potential.

Capsaicin is what gives chili peppers their heat.

You’ll find that different peppers have different heat levels and the amount of capsaicin allows some to be hotter than others.

After eating hot peppers or a spicy meal, their heat increases the body’s temperature and helps boost its metabolism. But only temporarily.

Some studies put the figure at around an 8% increase from your regular resting rate. Many argue that this boost isn’t enough to provide sustained weight loss.

But because eating peppers has be proven to help with weight loss, a number of researchers believe that the spice makes you eat less later on. It has been shown that eating a spicy meal makes you eat less later on. In that study, the spicy meal made participants consume 200 calories less in later meals.

As for green tea, it is the caffeine that gives our metabolism a temporary kick.

Caffeine is known to help wake us up as well as give us energy. Among the other things it does is increase our heart rate as well as metabolic rates.

Again, this is a temporary effect. Estimates of its effect range from 4% to 10% more than your regular rate. This helps us burn more calories right after a meal.



We’re sure that you’ve heard a lot more. Some of these sound so good that it makes them easy to believe. But sometimes, when they’re too good to be true they probably are.