Middle-age spread isn’t down to metabolism, but we know how to beat it

It’s a myth that extra belly fat in middle age is due to a slowing metabolism – and now we know what really causes the dreaded spread we can also fix it

FEW of life’s milestones are as unappealing and unceremonious as arrival in middle age. Our skin becomes noticeably looser, grey hairs more numerous and, of course, our clothes typically start to feel a bit tighter – especially around the waist.

The last of these is known as middle-aged spread, the commonly accepted idea that we start to pack on the pounds around the abdomen as we get older. This excess weight is said to be easy to put on and harder to shift than when we were younger, the thinking being that our once-perky metabolism gets sluggish with age. We can no longer get away with as much, and our efforts to ditch the belly with diet or exercise become a losing battle.