Emma Thompson says 'Dieting screwed up my metabolism'

Tanya Edwards
Emma Thompson (Photo: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Acclaimed British actor Emma Thompson, 59, shared some harsh – and relatable – thoughts on dieting Saturday, in a short interview with the Guardian.

“Dieting screwed up my metabolism, and it messed with my head,” Thompson said. “I’ve fought with that multimillion-pound industry all my life, but I wish I’d had more knowledge before I started swallowing their crap. I regret ever going on one.”

Is there any truth to her words? Sort of. While we don’t know what kind of dieting Thompson was doing, if one is consistently sticking to an extremely low calorie intake day after day without break, then metabolism does appear to slow as the body eventually goes into “starvation” mode. 

However, as you lose weight, your metabolism can also slow. Simply put, a 150-pound body needs less energy (food) than a 200-pound body.

“If you go at dieting very vigorously, your metabolism falls, so it means you lose less weight than the calories you cut,” Susan B. Roberts, PhD, senior scientist at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center at Tufts, told Eating Well. “Slower dieting has a smaller effect. Once you have lost weight and stabilized, if you have been going at a moderate rate of one to two pounds per week, there does not seem to be a long-term impact. Your metabolism is lower because you are now a smaller person, but not disproportionately low.”

Thompson also mentioned she wished she’d had more knowledge, which can be looked at as excellent advice. It’s important to talk to a doctor and research what diet or eating plan is right for you, or if you need one at all.

The Oscar winner also spoke in favor of the #MeToo movement, sharing her concern for young women in the entertainment industry.

“Hollywood is definitely changing. #MeToo has been a wonderful moment of clarity,” she said. “When I was a young woman, older men in the industry would constantly try it on. I was always able to say no, and they took that for an answer. What younger women have to encounter terrifies me.”

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