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What is Metabolism and how does It Work?

Metabolism is an intricate biochemical process where the body converts the food, liquids, and other eatables into energy. During the process, the calories present in beverages and food consumed by an individual are linked to oxygen to generate energy. This energy is utilized by the body to carry various functions and activities. So, in simple terms, metabolism is converting consumed food into energy.

Types of Metabolic Processes

The body carries metabolism in two different processes:

1) Anabolism

Also called as ‘Constructive Metabolism,’ it is a process during which simple molecules are developed into intricate compounds, such as nucleic acids, proteins, and more. This process aids in eliminating waste from the body, maintenance of existing cells and tissues, and promoting fast growth of new cell and repairing of damaged cells.

2) Catabolism

During this process, the consumed food is broken into simple molecules right during digestion. It is also known as ‘Destructive Metabolism,’ as during the process a large volume of energy is generated to break the food into molecules.

The Three Components of Metabolism

Whether it is anabolism or catabolism, they comprise three core components, which are:

1) Basal Metabolism

It is also called as Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which relates to total calories required to carry all activities and chemical reactions in the body when the body is at rest. It is the biggest component of metabolism constituting 70% of it, as the body burns almost 60 to 70% calories from consumed food in a day, while at rest.

2) Specific Dynamic Action

It is the smallest yet the most important component of metabolism. It is the ‘thermic effect of food’ during which the body utilizes energy to digest the food and absorb all the nutrients present in the food. The average thermic effect for individuals is around 10%, which can increase depending on the type of food a person is consuming.

3) Energy Released during Physical Activities

It is the amount of energy that the body releases while carrying physical activities, like housework, exercise, recreation activities, and more. The minimum portion of the energy released during physical activities is 20 to 30%, which may vary depending on the lifestyle and physical activities executed by an individual on a daily basis. A person carrying more physical activities requires more calories as compared to the person living a sedentary lifestyle.

How Does Metabolism Works?

Any variation in the above three components of metabolism affects the metabolic rate. The body’s metabolic rate determines the total number of calories a person must consume on a daily basis. It is because the expenditure of energy from the body is an ongoing process that takes place even when a person is sleeping. But, definitely, the rate varies. So, if a person is consuming more calories and spending less, then it results in fat deposits. Contrary, if a person is practising more physical work and is consuming lesser calories, then he is slim and lean. A healthy person is one that consumes only calories required by the body to carry various functions.

In order to continue the process of releasing energy via metabolism, the body depends on four major nutrients – Proteins, Carbohydrates, Fats, and Nucleic Acids. These nutrients are broken down into four major parts – Amino Acids, Fatty Acids, Glucose, and Nucleotides. From there, the body has the option to carry catabolism and break the food further to release energy, or to carry anabolism and use the broken molecules to rebuilt, renew, heal, and store.

Metabolism plays a vital role in weight loss and gain, as a person with an appropriate metabolic rate is prone to remain healthy and lean. If your metabolic rate gets disturbs, then you can become either too lean or can become too fat. Metabolism is an important process of the body and to ensure that you remain healthy, it is essential to keep your metabolic rate always in check.

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