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  • Women and men do not have different metabolisms, a new study suggests.
  • The "pivotal" paper involved nearly 6,500 participants and analysed data collected over 40 years.
  • Researchers found metabolism stays the same between the ages of 20 and 60.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Men and women do not have different metabolisms, according to newly published research.

The huge study also found that metabolism doesn't decrease between the ages of 20 and 60, despite common misconceptions.

The "pivotal" paper, published in Science journal, included data from nearly 6,500 people between the ages of eight days and 95 years, collected over 40 years. More than 80 researchers from different labs contributed to the report.

The more body mass you have (and muscle in particular), the faster your metabolism, experts previously told Insider, and women carry more fat than men to allow them to have children healthily.

But after controlling for size and muscle differences, researchers of this new study found no difference between the metabolic rates of men and women.

However, individuals' metabolic rates can vary by as much as 25% slower or 25% faster than the average metabolic rate for their age and size.

According to Leanne Redman, an energy balance physiologist at Pennington Biomedical Research Institute in Baton Rouge, the research is "a pivotal paper" and the findings "will be in textbooks," she told the New York Times.

There are four metabolic phases of life

Metabolic rates can be divided into four periods, according to researchers:

  • Up to 1 year: metabolism is highest, about 50% above adult rate
  • 1-20: metabolism slows by 3% each year
  • 20-60: metabolism stays stable
  • After 60: metabolism slows by about 0.7% each year.

By the age of 95, a person's metabolic rate is likely to have declined by 20% from the age of 60.

On average, people gain more than 0.6 kilograms a year during adulthood, but this can't be blamed on a slowing metabolism, Dr Samuel Klein, director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, told the Times.

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