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When you put on weight easily, does it mean that your metabolism is slow? — Pauline, Si

Anne Coulston


Researchers have conducted studies over the years to see if differences in metabolism exist between individuals. Their results, when they use the most sophisticated methods, show that actually most of us are very similar in terms of metabolism, and that differences in body weight have to do with calories taken in from foods versus calories expended in physical activity.

If you feel that you easily put on weight, you may want to cut back your daily caloric intake by about 50 to 100 calories (the amount of calories in one cookie). Also, make sure that you are maximizing your physical activity during the day by taking the stairs, walking instead of driving or parking a bit further away from your destination.

About Anne Coulston

Ann M. Coulston, M.S.,R.D., graduated from Cornell University with a master's degree in nutritional science and is a former research dietitian at Stanford University Medical Center, and a past president of both the American Dietetic Association (1998-1999) and the California Dietetic Association. Ann specializes in clinical research on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and collaborates with medical scientists in research on diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

She has been recognized for excellence in the practice of research and clinical nutrition by the American Dietetic Association Foundation, and is the recipient of the American Dietetic Association's Medallion award for leadership. The California Dietetic Association has awarded her the Distinguished Service and Outstanding Member awards.

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