When you know better, you can do better.
I’m going to share with you three health myths that I hear and read often, even on so called reputable sites, that are plain lies.
I don’t mean to imply that the people who share these are intentionally deceiving others (well, perhaps with the exception of companies selling ketones products). What I mean is that a piece of misinformation is grabbed onto by the armchair health experts then passed on as gospel and so the chain of misinformation continues.
Let’s get to it.
MYTH #1: YOUR METABOLISM SLOWS DOWN WITH AGE
This is used frequently as a ‘catch all’ reason to explain why people put weight on and struggle to get it off as they age. I’m not exactly sure who started the rumour but here are the stats.
Yes, studies have shown a decrease in metabolism BUT only of 1-2 % EVERY DECADE of your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). Your BMR makes up 50-70% of your total metabolism.
Let me repeat this.
The only metabolic decline due to ageing is to the tune of 1-2% of 50% of your entire metabolism EVERY 10 years.
Alas, those extra 5kg that crept up on me during the COVID extravaganza could not be blamed onto my ageing metabolism (while science killed this myth for me, it also gave me the tools to shed those 5kg within a couple of months).
The reason we put weight on as we age is not because our metabolism slows down but because WE slow down (and eat more).
MYTH #2: TAKING EXOGENOUS KETONES INCREASES WEIGHT LOSS
Being in a state of ketosis means that you have elevated levels of ketones in your blood, which in healthy people can occur either as a result of following a very low carbohydrate diet or significantly restricting calories.
Why would you want elevated ketones?
Well, ketones in your blood are a sign of ketosis. During this process, stored fat is released so the liver can use it (fatty acids) to produce ketones in the absence of glucose. This is a good thing and a great way to lose fat (and harmful triglycerides).
This is known as endogenous ketosis—meaning ketones are being produced inside your body.
You can now purchase exogenous (meaning outside your body) ketone supplements which claim to:
- Increase fat burning
- Increase energy
- Suppress appetite
- Improve athletic performance
The only two studies I’m aware of on ketone salts (the products you buy on the market) do not show any improvements on physical performance.
There is no other evidence as to the other claims.
Also, taking exogenous ketones would actually prevent your body from then making its own ketones from stored fat. Because you would provide it with external ketones so why bother release stored fat? So this myth really doesn’t make any sense to me.
Good news, as these ketone products are very expensive.
MYTH #3: WE NEED LESS SLEEP AS WE AGE
Older adults need exactly the same amount of sleep as younger adults – a minimum of 7 hours with the sweet spot for most being around 8 hours.
Getting enough sleep or the right quality is essential to feel vibrant and vital.
Sleep also improves overall wellbeing, focus, memory, weight loss, immune function and decreases the risk for cancer, dementia and heart disease.
Most people experience a decline in sleep quality as they age and struggle to fall asleep and/or remain asleep with very early awakenings.
This is something that is and should be addressed for vitality, lifespan and healthspan as well as protection of cognitive performance. There is no change in the amount of sleep one needs as they age.