I’ve been told many a time that I am one of the lucky ones. It seems that no matter how much I eat, I stay a ‘skinny-malinky-long-legs’ as my grandma used to say, and rarely put on any weight. I’m sure that is not strictly true and I’ve never tested it to its limits. But on a fairly normal and relaxed diet, with a fair bit of fat and sugar included in it, I do just fine. This, I largely put down to a high metabolism, which apparently I have my mother to thank for (or at least in part).
I’ve read a few things in recent weeks about metabolism and specifically metabolism in babies and childhood. I’ll admit that I haven’t done a full literature review or researched every study on the topic, so this is more just something I’m putting out there as food for thought, as it could well be a load of old rubbish. It does seem to make sense though. For some reason, I’ve been reading the blog of a guy called Matt Stone from 180 Degrees Health, who has ever so slightly better referencing than me, but not by much. Anyway, he claims that how much a woman eats whilst pregnant and whilst breastfeeding affects the metabolism of a child.
We’re not talking here about what you eat, but specifically how much. The theory goes that the more you eat in pregnancy/whilst breastfeeding, the higher metabolism your child will have. This, in turn, makes how much you eat more important than what you eat in terms of your child’s development. Why is that I hear you ask? Why is high metabolism so great? For the exact reasons I described at the start of this post. You will have a child that can pretty much eat what they like without putting on weight. The fact that they can, and will, eat more, means they are also more likely, within that, to eat the vital vitamins and minerals that they need to remain healthy.
This does make me wonder if the so called obesity crisis in the developed world is in anyway related to our obsession with dieting. If women are dieting or still watching what they eat whilst pregnant, perhaps because they themselves have a low metabolism, is this then impacting on their own children and fuelling a vicious cycle of low metabolism and poor diet? After all, the less you eat, the lower your metabolism will become.
All of this could certainly explain why both of my boys seem to eat an awful lot more than some others their age. The disadvantage of this is they’re going to eat me out of house and home if I’m not careful! That’s the cost of all my cake eating I guess.
What are your thoughts on this? Did you up the calories whilst pregnant and how do you think it impacted on your children? Do you have a high or low metabolism and how does this compare to other family members? I’d love to hear your thoughts and try to establish if there really is some truth in all of this.