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Content Any Way U Want It!

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September 21, 2023

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Metabolism decreases for students over time

College is a time where students are supposed to be active, but metabolism starts to slow down when people turn 20 years old.

Some students don’t think about metabolism because they already eat healthy or exercise.

“I dance and I am a vegetarian. I eat healthy so I don’t really think about [metabolism],” said junior Kelly Schmidt.

On average, people’s metabolism may go down 2 to 3 percent every decade after they turn 20 years old, said Mary Jon Ludy, assistant professor in the Dietetics and Family and Consumer Sciences Department.

People may know what their metabolism does, but they don’t know how to explain it or how it actually works.

Metabolism is a process where food is broken down in the body to create energy, Ludy said.

Some students don’t even think about metabolism.

“I just know that I have a fast metabolism,” said junior Courtney Poettker.

Ludy said metabolism is very important to a person’s well-being, though.

Energy can be used for many different things like walking and exercise, but Ludy said there are some things that people don’t think about when thinking about metabolism.

A lot of the energy that people get comes from carbohydrates, fats and protein. Metabolism, the process of breaking down the foods in order to create adenosine triphosphate [ATP], helps transport energy into the body’s cells in order for the body to do work, Ludy said.

While people may think they need energy just for working out, Ludy said energy is used for everything, including heartbeat and brain function and that 70 percent of energy is used at rest.

“Then you think about an additional 5 to 10 percent of your metabolism goes to breaking down the foods. You need energy to be able to break down the carbs, the proteins and the fat … and then the remainder is for activity,” she said.

For Poettker, this means a lot of her energy goes toward her dance major.

“I dance all day every day but I eat whatever I want,” she said.

This change in metabolism is due to people’s bodies changing.

“You tend to think with aging there is an increase in fat mass, that there is a decrease in muscle mass and individuals on the whole … there is a lot that deals with that body composition shift,” Ludy said.

There are many ways that people can get their metabolism to start working faster. Some of the ways include working out and eating spicy foods like chili peppers.

“When we’re thinking about [spicy foods] that’s not very much. It’s like 10 calories at a meal,” Ludy said.

Schmidt thinks that metabolism might go down when people get older because of other things people do.

“I think once you’re 20 it’s harder to focus on eating healthy and working out,” she said.

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