weight lossIf you’ve ever had the sneaking suspicion that it is easier for one of your friends to lose weight than it is for you, you may not be imagining things.

Researchers at the American National Institute of Health are the first ever to demonstrate in a lab that people with certain physiologies have an easier time losing weight than others when calorie restriction is introduced.

Metabolic rate slows when the body senses that it may be entering a period of starvation. It tells all systems to be thrifty with the energy they use, resulting in fewer calories burned. If one lived in a society where food was scarce, such a sensitive system would be a major plus.

But food is much less scarce now than when we were evolving. Ease of weight loss may depend on how well your body is adapted for survival.

The study analyzed 12 men and women, all of whom were obese. The researchers recorded baseline measurements for all participants and accounted for age, sex and race. The results showed that, during a calorie-reduced period, participants whose metabolisms slowed the most, lost the weight. Those whose metabolism did not slow down lost the most weight.

Susanne Votruba, author of the study, commented, “weight loss is one situation where being thrifty doesn’t pay.”

Just because weight loss may be more difficult for people of a certain physiology doesn’t mean that it is impossible. This study is one step towards demonstrating how individual the process of weight loss can be.


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