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Iowa psychologist publishes study about metabolism

Published: Thursday, July 3, 2014 10:21 a.m. CST

A Grinnell psychologist and bariatric counselor has published a study that may change the way we all look at weight management, and help those who struggle with weight issues develop realistic goals.

Dr. Brandon Davis recently published a pilot study in the Archives of Medical and Biomedical Research that focuses on a new way to look at metabolism, which the study calls the “Metabolic Factor.”

Metabolic Factor is found by determining how many calories a person burns per day at rest, or their resting metabolic rate, and dividing that number by their weight. The resting metabolic rate is measured with an FDA-approved machine that measures how much oxygen a person uses and how much carbon dioxide they exhale.

“We all know people who can eat nearly anything and seemingly not gain weight, while some people have controlled intake for years and struggle with weight issues,” Davis said. “This study is helping confirm that some people do indeed have fast or slow metabolisms.”

Davis said because Metabolic Factor does not change, when one loses weight, their caloric intake needs to continue to drop to lose or even maintain weight, because there are fewer pounds burning calories. For a psychologist who counsels patients who struggle with weight issues, the information is very important.

“I believe in taking the shame out of obesity issues,” Davis said. “And I also believe in helping people be happy with a healthy weight that they can realistically maintain. If I can show somebody with a Metabolic Factor of 8 that they could only eat 880 calories in order to maintain a 110 pound weight, it goes a long way toward more realistic goals and acceptance of their own body”

In addition to Metabolic Factor, Davis provides patients with information such as the suggested number of daily calories for weight loss and other data useful in creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

“Common sense, a sustainable plan and an approach that recognizes there is no guilt or shame is how I approach weight management,” he said. “People can be healthier and happy at the same time.”

For more information, visit www.davispsychservices.org or watch this video by the American Association of Bariatric Counselors at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-yteY5HkxE.