Metabolic Hype. Part I

As a biochemist specializing in energy metabolism, and married to a board-certified physician specializing in women’s health, the daily barrage of articles, internet blogs and FaceBook posts relating to metabolism is starting to really chafe my fanny.

If I see one more headline promising “10 easy ways to rev up your metabolism,” I’m going to scream. Why? Because you really don’t want to rev up, blast, boost or turbo-charge your metabolism. That whole concept is a massive misunderstanding of how the human body works. To suggest that a special food or beverage will increase metabolic efficiency (that is the way the body creates, stores and uses energy) is pure fantasy.

The major role in energy production is played by muscle. Unless the article you’re reading is telling you how to make exercise easier, more enjoyable and more effective, it is not about metabolism at all. It’s fluff, nonsense, filling people’s minds with misinformation. That is not what Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he invented the World Wide web (WWW).

Part of the problem is that our brains have been rewired to seek information in short sound bytes. So you are more likely to read a 300 word article with colorful photos, than read a book like The Metabolic Makeover (Altea Media, 2014). I know that sounds like a shameless plug, but the difference is important. The book will teach you how your body works. The articles will confuse you. I call it webaloney, and webaloney is never harmless. It’s poison in the well. The well is the social commons where we obtain information. For most of us, that is the internet. And every fraudulent or merely ignorant article, blog or post adds another drop of poison to that well. At a certain point, it becomes undrinkable.

Check back tomorrow for a case in point.themetabolicmakeoverbook.png


The Metabolic Makeover
Stephen Cherniske, M.S. & Natalie Kather, M.D.


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