You may not believe this, but fasting can make you gain weight, according the Offiong Etim, a medical practitioner at Asokoro General Hospital, Abuja.

When you fast, your body, sensing a lack of “fuel”, slows down metabolism in order to conserve energy — and that means only a few calories are burnt.

Unused calories are stored in the body’s fat cells and they contribute to weight gain if they are not “burnt off” eventually.

Metabolism is a process by which the body converts foods and drinks into energy to power the body.

Slow metabolism occurs when the body has difficulty moving sugar from the blood stream into the cells as fuel.

Aside fasting, other factors that slow down metabolism, according to Etim, are: iron deficiency, skipping breakfast, not taking enough water, stress and calcium deficiency.

He told NAN that even while resting, “the body needs energy to function such as breathing, blood circulation as well as cell repairs.”

Etim said: “Alcohol intake, lack of Vitamin D and Iron in the body causes slow metabolism.

“Not getting enough dairy product, fat free milk and low fat yoghurt can cause slow metabolism in patients.

“Inflammation of the thyroid gland, thyroid problem at birth and thyroid surgery can pre-dispose a patient to slow metabolism.

“Genetics, lifestyle and some medications used in the treatment of depression can contribute to risk of developing the condition in patients.

“Pregnancy and hypothalamus, a defect that occurs in the brain that disrupts the production of hormone called TRH, are causative factors to slow metabolism.”

Diabetes also contributes to slow metabolism because patients find it difficult to take off weight owing to high blood sugar levels.

Etim said too much fat relative to muscle, age and skipping of meals contributes to the condition in some patients.

Embedded in the problems are the solutions: eating breakfast, foods rich in iron, calcium and vitamin D.

Others are less alcohol intake, exercise, eating meals in bits and more frequently.

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