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Quick Fact
According to researchers at the University of Vermont, the metabolic rates of the majority of the population (96%) varies by around 200-300 kcal, which is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 3 Oreos or half of a large slice of pizza.
Metabolism plays a huge role in determining whether a person piles on the pounds or seemingly cannot put on at all. Overweight people desire a higher rate of metabolism while the underweight wish for the exact opposite. If you are under the impression that having a high metabolic rate is any day beneficial to having slow metabolism, then you could not be further from the truth. People with faster metabolic rate also experience certain health problems. The following content will cover the different symptoms of fast metabolism, later we shall try to examine the probable causes, and ways to slow down a fast metabolism.

For those who are bit unsure about what exactly does metabolism mean, metabolism refers to how much energy your body uses, or how many calories you burn in a day. Now, the number of calories you burn in a day will include calories burned by activities like exercise, walking, etc., and the amount of calories you burn while resting or if you stayed in bed all day (known as Basal Metabolic Rate).

People with a high metabolic rate tend to burn more calories at rest (high BMR), hence they find it difficult to gain weight even after gorging on fattening foods. Though this may seem like a benefit, that may not be the case always..

Symptoms

Though the symptoms mentioned below indicate the presence of high metabolic rate, some or all of these may or may not be experienced and a blood test can accurately measure the metabolic rate of an individual.
  • Underweight: The Body Mass Index (BMI) of an individual with a fast metabolism is comparatively lower than the prescribed value as per his/her height, body type, and age.
  • Higher Basal Body Temperature: An individual feels hot and sweaty all the time, since their basal body temperature is relatively high. This occurs because metabolic reactions take place so quickly within the body.
  • Increased Hunger: Even after eating 3 - 4 large meals daily, one feels hungry almost immediately.
  • Irregular Menses: Young girls who are about to hit puberty may experience menstrual problems. They may start late or have irregular cycles, as they do not have the required amount of body fat to experience a normal cycle. They tend to look thinner and lack energy just before or after menses.
Given below are some of the secondary symptoms that may or may not be experienced:
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Fatigue, dizziness, and excessive sweating
  • Trembling hands, trouble sleeping soundly, and frequent mood swings
Causes
  • Genes: Blame it on your genes, as with a lot of stuff related to your body, genes are also largely responsible for a person having a high rate of metabolism. In this case, aging is the only natural process that slows down the rate of metabolism.
  • Overactive Thyroid: Another important cause is hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism can almost double an individual's metabolism and he/she starts to experience symptoms like fatigue, weight loss, nervousness, and an increased heart rate. If you start experiencing these symptoms or have a family member who has a history of thyroid problems, then consult a doctor and get yourself tested.
  • Smoking: Another reason for quitting this habit. Smoking is said to increase metabolic rate which isn't necessarily good, not to mention other consequences of smoking on the health.
How to Slow Down a Fast Metabolism
  • Diet: The first thing to do is choose your food wisely. Consume slow-metabolizing foods like sugars, fatty sources, and refined grains. Fried foods do not sound like a very healthy option, but they can help you gain weight - do not go overboard.
  • Moderate to Little Physical Exercise: Once you finish eating, relax. Do not indulge in any physical activity like walking or doing any heavy work, else your food will digest faster. Exercise but only for about 15 - 20 minutes and avoid any strenuous exercises. Refrain from heavy workout routines, as it will only burn more calories.
  • Sleep Less: You should get 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily. When you sleep less, the cortisol levels in the body increase, metabolism slows down automatically and assists in storing fat in the body.
Research carried out as part of The Leiden Longevity Study in The Netherlands, recently concluded that people with a fast metabolism tend to age quickly and also increase their chances of having a chronic disease. So, all those out there who are believe metabolism is 'only' the key to weight loss, think again faster metabolism may not necessarily be good after all.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.