Despite how much many of us would like to believe otherwise, it is once again proven that it’s our lifestyle (exercise, diet, and slowing metabolism as we age) causing weight gain, not our birth control.
The notion that birth control pills make you fat is just part of what the paper’s lead author, physician David Grimes of the University of North Carolina, calls an elaborate mythology, one “fueled by rumor, gossip and poor-quality research.” As it turns out, there’s never been convincing evidence that the pill in any of its forms provokes weight gain. Another recent review paper found little evidence of weight gain among users of progestin-only pills, and a similar study from 2008 likewise failed to find any connection between weight gain and pills that contain progestin and estrogen.
Some studies hint that the pill might even have the opposite effect. According to a 1997 study, users of birth control pills have a basal metabolic rate almost 5 percent higher than people who have never used the pill, and a small 2009 trial concluded that the pill reduced body fat in women who took it. A study published last year tracked nearly 500 women aged 15 to 19 over several years and found that while all the teens gained some weight, those who used birth control pills gained about a pound less than those who didn’t.
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One thing that has been proven repeatedly to make you gain weight? Pregnancy. At least it usually goes away sometime after, though.