Q. I have a friend who just quit smoking. He’s started to gain the typical weight and went into his local GNC yesterday to get some supplement that’s supposed to speed up his metabolism. He already has a fairly good diet. I told him he might be better off just letting his metabolism balance itself out, rather than substituting one stimulant for another. Any ideas on how he can naturally adjust better?
A. People who quit smoking do often gain a few pounds but changes in metabolism are the least likely culprit. Nicotine does slightly increase one’s metabolic rate. More significantly, however, it acts as an appetite suppressant. Ex-smokers often eat more when they stop smoking because they have more appetite. The mental and physical stress of nicotine withdrawal may also drive cravings for certain “comfort” foods. Add to that the fact that ex-smokers need something to do with their hands (and mouths) to fill the time that they used to spend smoking and it’s easy to see why quitters often gain a few pounds.
But because a slower metabolism isn’t really the main issue here, a “metabolism booster” from the health food store probably isn’t going to be a very effective solution. Here are some tips to help manage this transition. Continue reading “How to Avoid Weight Gain When You Quit Smoking”