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Fast and slow metabolisms...what were we designed for?

Asked on April 15, 2012
Created April 15, 2012 at 7:05 AM

In the dieting world, the desire for a fast metabolism is not a secret. There are always posts about increasing metabolism, eating more times a day to jumpstart metabolism, and how exercise boosts metabolism. Because of this boosted metabolism, one is able to eat more (multiple meals and day and snacking) to maintain weight. A fast metabolism often makes others jealous since it's seen as desirable.

However, calorie restriction with optimal nutrition(CRON) has been found in studies to prolong life and reduce risk for certain illness since it encourages autophagy. People who practice CRON often have lower body weights. They initially lose weight, but then the body adjust to the calorie intake and metabolism slows. This slow metabolism supposedly is the reason for the buffer it provides to prevent illness. For those who fast, sometimes the metabolism slows and they eventually don't feel hunger as much or the need to graze and eat as often. Hunger is suppressed a little.

I would guess that in the HG world, a slower metabolism would be an advantage. Being able to maintain one's weight during times of scarcity and in-between a large kill would help one survive. A slow metabolism would mean that a hunter could go longer on less food and with fewer meals a day instead of the "metabolism revving 6 small meals a day". Now, I'm not talking severely low levels in where eating a grape would cause you to grow to a size of a building. I'm not taking extreme outliers here...just that a generally lower metabolism at a healthy weight would be advantageous.

A fast metabolism is ideal for weight loss but after that...for someone at their personal ideal weight, what would be better? A slow or fast metabolism?? Once again, I'm not talking about the extreme ends with associated with medical conditions.

For the person who is otherwise healthy, do you think a slow or fast metabolism is better?

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