10 Most Unbelievable Metabolism Myths That You Should Know By Now

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Metabolism Myths - Woman Holding An Apple With A Hand

Metabolism myths are rampant in our diet and fitness culture. Here are 10 you may have believed and truths to set you free.

  • Move More, Eat Less  
  • Eat Gluten Free
  • Calories Matter
  • You Can Get All the Protein You Need From Plants
  • Butter & Red Meat Are Bad for You
  • Choose Whole Grains & Brown Rice
  • Weight Lifting Makes You Bulky
  • Only Eat When You’re Hungry
  • If You Want to Lose Fat, Workout Harder (And Do More Cardio)
  • Save Up for Cheat Meals to Keep Yourself Sane

10 Metabolism Myths You Should Ignore

Should you blame a slow metabolism for your weight gain? Without a doubt, you have heard of various metabolism myths. There are different factors that affect metabolism and to successfully achieve weight loss avoid these popular metabolism myths.

Move More, Eat Less

Metabolism Myths - Young Woman Deciding Whether To Eat Healthy Food Or Sweet Cookies

This is the philosophy of our diet culture. While a drastic reduction in calories may help you see “initial” results this is often short lived, and eventually, your metabolism slows down naturally—making you think you need to eat even less and trying harder if you want to see results—that never come, or eventually backfire. Creating a large calorie deficit in attempts to lose weight is one of the very popular metabolism myths.  

In addition, low calorie diets lead to your body looking crying out elsewhere for energy. Like lean muscle and crazy cravings or constant thoughts about food. When your body isn’t given enough energy to survive, it will start drawing energy from your muscles because they cost a big caloric buck to maintain. It also signals to your brain that it is in “deprivation” mode—and so your body naturally starts to think more about food—like all the time.

Go Gluten Free

The only ingredient missing from most conventional gluten free products? Gluten. Otherwise the same sugars, additives, artificial ingredients, dyes and other chemicals are still there (i.e. they are processed foods), along with many gluten cross-contaminating foods that can equally cause GI distress for some (rice flour, oats, sorghum, nuts, tapioca, etc.).

Calories Matter

Metabolism Myths -  Women Eating Hamburgers Looking At A Stressed Chubby Girl With Measuring Tape Around Her Mouth

NOT! Calories don’t count if you don’t count them : ) And all that long-term use of My Fitness Pal app is doing is making you overthink your calories and macros and intake. In addition, a thing to consider: Calories don’t count nutrients.Nutrient density” essentially means the amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrition packed into a food. Your bod digests a pack of Skittles, differently than a handful of berries.

You Can Get All the Protein You Need From Plants

No other food than whole-sources of protein (eggs, fish, chicken, meat, pork) have all 22 amino acids we need for optimal cellular and metabolic function. Plants tend to lack many of these amino acids—making them incomplete proteins.

The big deal? How metabolism myths like this affect us? Over time this leads to deficiencies—such as Zinc and Vitamin B-12. In addition, protein-less or low protein diets leave us less satiated between meals, throw off our hormones and impact our digestion.  

Butter & Red Meat Are Bad for You

Metabolism Myths -  Different Meat Food - Chicken Breast, Pork Steak, Beef Tenderloin

If you haven’t heard the buzz in nutrition world that fat is good for you, you’ve been living under a rock. Low fat is out and fat—especially saturated fat- is in. For years experts and media told us to ban the butter, ditch the yolks and replace red meat with more chicken, but get this: low fat diets are actually that cause. Low fat, no fat diets lead to nutrient deficiencies and increased oxidative stress and inflammation.

Saturated fats—like butter and red meat—have been falsely linked to heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol numbers…until now. Quite the opposite: did you know that a LACK of saturated fats, and other healthy fats, actually increases internal cholesterol levels and inflammation? In other words: eating fat does a body good. 

Choose Whole Grains & Brown Rice

Wheat bread over white? Brown rice, whole wheat pasta, granola and steel cut oats—these are heart healthy right? Wrong. Ever since the Agricultural and Industrial Revolutions of the 1900’s our country has witnessed a steady decline in our state of health.

What changed? The consumption of more grains  and processed foods in our diets. These grains contain phytates and lectins—compounds that protect grains in the wild from predators—and compounds our guts don’t recognize as digestible food. Enter: malabsorption, leaky gut and other disease—like autoimmune conditions, allergies, asthma, heart disease and cancer.

Weight Lifting Makes You Bulky

Metabolism Myths -  Women Doing Weight Lifting At The Gym

Women often comment that they’re worried about bulking up and that they “put on muscle if they use heavy weights.” While you certainly can make your muscles bigger from weight training, that’s not necessarily a side effect. Women have testosterone levels that are about 15 to 20 times lower than those of men—hormonally speaking, we are just not likely to get jacked. “Bulking” is attributed to our nutrition—and for some, actually not eating enough—leads to more stress and tendency to hold onto more mass.

For others, the fear of fat or carbs or protein can be the real reason for bulk— additional stress on your body if it’s not getting the right balance it needs. The bottom line? You are not the Hulk. Steering clear of lifting anything heavier than your straightening or curling iron is a big mistake. Strength training is a part of a holistic, healthy movement plan, and is great for improving bone density, joint mobility, and body composition—particularly weights that are more challenging than say 5 to 10 lbs. pink dumbbells.

Only Eat When You’re Hungry

I am BIG on the intuitive eating philosophy: “Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full.” It’s a practice I advocate and preach often. However, for many people, that practice is “running before you’re walking” since many of us are disconnected with what hunger feels like anyhow.

A common problem I see folks run into is “chronic undereating”—essentially, not eating enough for your body for optimal function. No, I am not talking chronic dieting (another topic for another day). When we don’t eat enough our body goes into what is termed “starvation mode.” And when our body is in starvation-mode, it learns to adapt to the little reserve you do give it, and you lose touch with your hunger. Enter: The problem with “eating when you are only hungry.” (Your body may not be telling you it really is).

If You Want to Lose Fat, Workout Harder (And Do More Cardio)

Metabolism Myths - Young People Running On A Treadmill

Your Bod is Smarter Than a Fitness Tracker. Your body KNOWS when it’s tired, when it has energy to move, when it has a surge in energy, when it’s hungry and when it’s full. Chances are, you’ve gotten away from trusting it completely, but no time like the present to ditch the tracker and start a fun experiment—listening to your body.

If you’ve been tracking calories, meticulously counting or you’re always connected to your FitBit, try unplugging for a week, and instead of relying on counts, experiment with eating regular balanced meals until you’re satisfied, and moving your body for the sake of movement and enjoyment.

Save Up for Cheat Meals to Keep Yourself Sane

You’re “reaaaallllyyy good” all week—following your meal plan to a t! And your nutritionist tells you that you can have a cheat meal or cheat day once per week if you’re really good.  Shut the front door! Bring on the pizza, the nachos, the cocktails, the pancakes, the ice cream—anything and everything you’ve fought so hard all week NOT to consume. This is one of the most common metabolism myths that many are guilty of.

The problem with this mentality is that it sets you up for nutrition failure. Why? When we view food as a “cheat” or “treat” we instantly start labeling food as “good” or “bad”—therefore spurring on a silent war (inside our heads) with food—like it or not.

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