Why you gain weight as you get older: Body’s ability to remove fat from fat cells slows down



Testosterone is said to be one of the secrets to men having naturally slender physiques.

The hormone – a hydrophobic molecule – likes to stick to fat, meaning less fat lingers around the middle.

It also helps to build muscle, fuels metabolism, and maintains insulin sensitivity (which prevents diabetes).

Lower testosterone levels make it easier for the body to store fat. Equally, obesity impairs the production of testosterone. 

As men age, testosterone levels naturally decrease, at a rate of about 1 percent a year after the age of 30.

This means belly fat starts to creep in.


The female body has a delicate balance of progesterone and estrogen.

Higher levels of estrogen contribute to fat tissue formation. In younger women, this is offset by strong levels of progesterone.

From the age of 35 onwards, levels of both hormones decrease, leading up to menopause.

However, progesterone levels decrease at a faster rate – causing fat tissue to form at a seemingly less controllable rate than before.


The loss of muscle mass is one of the greatest factors that leads to a slow metabolism.

Muscle tissue is the largest consumer of glucose in the entire body.

If you can’t contain your lean muscle mass as you age, there’s less to consume that glucose.

In turn, that glucose can convert into lingering body fat.

As a result, your body does not process carbs as swiftly as it once did.



Experts say it’s important older people do resistance training rather than purely cardiovascular training.  

‘While aerobic workouts are beneficial for heart health, muscle building is just as important to protect yourself from developing inflammation and diabetes.

Resistance training is an umbrella term for any exercise that causes muscles to work against some form of resistance – either weights or your own body weight.

Some exercises include planking, squats and bicep curls.


Protein shakes are marketed to 20-something gym buffs looking to beef up their muscles.

But the nutrient is essential for older people to build muscle and keep metabolism stable.   

Protein is essential because it fills your body with the amino acids to repair and replenish damage – and you also need it if you want to build muscle. 

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