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Four Major Hidden Causes of a Slow Metabolism

June 2, 2014

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You’ve worked so hard to shed the pounds, but something seems to sabotage your efforts. You might be right, and it might just be your own body. Metabolism is the actual process by which your body converts food into energy, and any compromise to that process could affect the number of calories your body burns -- and what it conserves. A slow metabolism means your body conserves more energy and calories, leading to the retention of more body fat. The hidden causes of a slow metabolism are sometimes overlooked in favor of the more obvious ones, such as genetics, the sex of the individual and the side effects of the normal aging process.


Did you know that the metabolism of people who do not have diabetes is significantly different from the metabolism of those of diabetics due to the havoc the condition plays on insulin production? This is related to the body’s inability to properly metabolize glucose, leading to a spike in blood sugars and consequent weight gain.


Hypothyroidism is a disorder that affects the ability of the thyroid gland to make enough thyroid hormone for the body to function properly. The hormone regulates the way the body uses energy and without enough, most of the body’s functions will slow down, including the metabolic process.

Cushing's Syndrome

Cushing’s syndrome is a hormonal disorder that occurs when body tissues are exposed to cortisol, a hormone excreted by the adrenal glands, for an extended period. Cortisol controls the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins in the body, and prolonged exposure to it will slow down your metabolism.

Improper Diet

Skipping meals might seem like a logical way to reduce calories and shed some weight, but the reality is quite different. When you limit your meals, your body goes into survival mode by slowing down the metabolic process to conserve energy. In this sense, a slow metabolism is a built-in natural defense to protect the body from the effects of starvation by minimizing the amount of energy it uses.

Tricks to Speed Things Up

  • Turn your workout up a notch: Aerobic exercise is a high-intensity exercise that helps you give your metabolism a much-needed boost. Even short spurts of intense exercise will deliver more benefits than longer bouts of low-intensity ones.
  • Eat right: Eating little portions of healthy foods or snacks at intervals will help speed up your metabolic process. This is due to the fact that the body uses energy to burn calories, and eating just one or two big meals allows the metabolic process to slow down in between.


Do you have experience with slow metabolism?