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Metabolism: Facts and Fallacies
Learn What Burns Calories and What Doesn't

Pity the poor metabolism. It gets the blame for everything having to do with weight loss. Every extra pound that registers on the bathroom scale, every exercise program that doesn't produce results, every diet that was doomed from the start - it's all the metabolism's fault. Or is it?

(Article continued below.)

There's a certain mystique surrounding the metabolism, as if it holds the whole key to weight loss. The reality, however, is a lot more complex and more intriguing. To start understanding the truth about metabolism, you need to understand that the relationship between calories burned and calories consumed is a very subtle one. For example, a lot of people seem to gain weight as the decades pass, and that's assumed to happen because of a slowing metabolism. The truth is that on the average, people tend to eat 17 more calories a day than they burn. Those 17 little calories add up - to over a pound a year! This is pure math. When it comes to the metabolism slowing down, age may not be that important a factor in and of itself, as you will find out.

A lot of myths and misconceptions have sprung up over metabolism and the role it plays in health and fitness. Below are some of the most common beliefs about metabolism. Click on any of them and a window will pop up telling you whether it's true or not. Some of the answers may surprise you. All of them will give you some insight on what really will help you burn calories, and lose - or keep off - the extra weight.

Aging slows down the metabolism.
Exercising in the morning revs up your metabolism.
Eating within 30 minutes after exercise raises your metabolism.
Exercising raises your metabolism for the rest of the day.
I shouldn't eat after 8 p.m. if I want to lose weight.
The fitter you are, the faster your metabolism becomes.
Measured per mile, running burns more calories than walking.
Hand-held weights or wearing a weighted vest while walking will burn more calories.
You get a better calorie burn by running on sand.

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