The calories your body burns over a period of time – or, your metabolic rate – is usually categorized as either fast or slow.
A fast metabolic rate means your body efficiently processes energy; a slow metabolic rate means there may be something hampering the body’s metabolism.
People with slow metabolisms can experience “weight gain, they would be very fatigued, [have] low energy, and they’re going to have difficulties to complete simple tasks,” explains Avigdor Arad, PhD, RDN, CDE, director of the Mount Sinai Physiolab.
“You may see some physical signs like dry skin, brittle nails, or their hair is falling out a little bit. They may suffer from migraines and there may be cravings for sugar because they think that’s going to help them stay awake.”
This is all because the body isn’t processing energy efficiently, or the right way.
“It could be just not able to digest, break down, and absorb certain nutrients that are vital,” Dr. Arad adds.
Related: Four Metabolism Myths
People tend to jump to the conclusion their metabolism is slow, but Dr. Arad says, “a slow metabolism is actually rare,” and “in most cases it’s related more to a lack of sleep, poor diet, or a lack of physical activity.”
Other factors that contribute to a sluggish metabolism can be medical reasons, such as imbalanced hormones and thyroid disease.
If you’re looking to boost your metabolism, Dr. Arad recommends eating less sugar, consuming more protein and healthy fats, and strength training.
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