ZocdocAnswersIf starving yourself lowers your metabolism, then why are the people who do that so thin?

Question

If starving yourself lowers your metabolism, then why are the people who do that so thin?

Not that I'm starving myself, it's a simple thing that I don't understand.

Answer

I recommend that you discuss this issue further with your primary care doctor. A person's weight is a function of both what they take in and what they burn. Patients that have eating disorders and literally eat almost nothing lose weight and become thin because they are burning more than they taken regardless of what effect that has on their basal metabolism. For example, let's say that you burn 2000 cal a day as your basal metabolic rate. This should be true for most young folks that way about 160 to 180 pounds. If you only take in 1500 cal a day, then you will lose weight. If that same person begins starving themselves, their basal metabolic rate may drop to 1200 cal a day. However, if they're only taking in 500 cal a day, they will still lose weight. Keep in mind that the safest and most healthy way to lose weight is both with modifications of your diet and exercise. Doing just one or the other is usually not as successful as doing both. Dietary changes that are usually helpful are increasing the amount of vegetables that you take in and decreasing the amount of carbohydrates and meat. For this problem, I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician so the two of you can discuss your diet and what you need to do to reach it.

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