Metabolism

Often people believe that slow metabolism is a reason for excessive weight gain, while there may be some truth to it, weight gain has more factors influencing it such as calories, exercise, lifestyle diseases (example, hypothyroidism) and dietary habits. So what is “metabolism”? Well basically, metabolism is the process through which your body converts food eaten into energy using oxygen. There are two types of metabolisms that happen in our bodies:

  1. Catabolism: This process yields energy through break down of food molecules (C for catabolism and C for cut).

  2. Anabolism: Through this process new compounds are formed in our cells (A for anabolism and A for addition).

To help you with dietary woes, nutritionists would want to know your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) which the amount of calories you burn when you’re just chillin’ on the couch watching Netflix. Now you may think that you’re being lazy and doing “nothing” but actually, your body is still performing life sustaining tasks like breathing, blooding pumping, digestion etc. You’d be surprised to know that BMR accounts to about 60-80% of total calories burned. Although speeding up the metabolism and its merits are a topic of debate, old age and drastic weight loss diets can substantially slow your metabolism down.

Other factors that burn rest of your calories are:

Thermic Effect of Activity (TEA): Calories burned during a physical exercise (10-30%).

Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): Calories burned during digestion of food (~10%).

Your nutritionist will use values of BMR, TEA and TEF to design your personalized diet plans and give your dietary recommendations based on them.



References and further reading:


Anthanont, Pimjai, and Michael D. Jensen. "Does basal metabolic rate predict weight gain?." The American journal of clinical nutrition 104.4 (2016): 959-963.


Belluz, J., 2018. Most Of Us Misunderstand Metabolism. Here Are 9 Facts To Clear That Up.. [online] Vox. Available at: <https://www.vox.com/2016/5/18/11685254/metabolism-definition-booster-weight-loss> [Accessed 5 July 2020].


Betterhealth.vic.gov.au. 2018. Metabolism. [online] Available at: <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/metabolism> [Accessed 5 July 2020].


Gymondo Magazin. 2019. Basal Metabolic Rate, Active Metabolic Rate, And Total Metabolic Rate - What Are They Actually? | Gymondo Magazin. [online] Available at: <https://www.gymondo.com/magazin/en/basal-metabolic-rate-active-metabolic-rate-and-total-metabolic-rate-what-are-they-actually#:~:text=the%20remaining%20organs-,Active%20metabolic%20rate,metabolic%20rate%20for%20physical%20activities.> [Accessed 8 August 2020].


Henry, Christiani Jeyakumar, et al. "Does basal metabolic rate drive eating rate?." Physiology & behavior 189 (2018): 74-77.


Mandal, D., 2016. What Is Metabolism?. [online] News-Medical.net. Available at: <https://www.news-medical.net/life-sciences/What-is-Metabolism.aspx> [Accessed 5 July 2020].


Templeton, J., 2019. Understanding Calories Is Your First Step To Weight Management - Ask The Scientists. [online] Ask The Scientists. Available at: <https://askthescientists.com/understanding-calories/> [Accessed 9 August 2020].

1 comment