How does metabolism work? We all want to understand our metabolism and how it affects our lives. Whether you are trying to lose weight, build muscle, gain energy, or just want an overall better health and wellness feeling, understanding how metabolism works is a solid first step. Metabolism is a process that everyone needs to understand to achieve and maintain a healthy existence. It’s how our cells change the food we eat into the energy we need to breathe, move, think, and everything else. Metabolism combines all the chemical processes that allow an organism to sustain life. For humans, this includes converting energy from food into energy for tasks such as breathing, circulating blood, repairing cells, digesting food, and eliminating waste – basically, all life-sustaining processes.
The metabolism works for and exists within all living things, from plants, fungi, and bacteria to animals and humans. All living matter is made up of large molecules called proteins, which provide support and coordinated movement – a process defined as metabolism. Ancient Greeks called metabolism “metaballein,” meaning to change. The Greeks understood how metabolism works and taught the world.
For humans, a metabolism definition is focused on how our cells transform the food we eat into the energy we use each second of our lives. Thousands of metabolic reactions happen simultaneously to keep our cells healthy and working. When thinking about how metabolism works, you must focus on the balancing act metabolism goes through simultaneously: anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is a constructive metabolism process and is designed to build, store and support the growth of new cells for future use. In anabolism, small molecules transform into more complex molecules of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
Alternatively, catabolism is destructive metabolism and is the process that produces the energy needed for all activity in the cells. To release energy, cells break down large molecules. This enables the muscles to contract and the body to move. Defining the biochemistry of the metabolic pathway, a metabolic pathway is a linked series of chemical reactions occurring within a cell. This is critical to know how metabolism works. Each metabolic pathway consists of a series of biochemical responses connected by their intermediates: the products of one reaction are the substrates for subsequent reactions, and so on. Metabolic pathways are often considered to flow in one direction. Although all chemical reactions are technically reversible, conditions in the cell are often such that it is thermodynamically more favorable for flux to proceed in one direction of a reaction.
Many people study how metabolism works to control weight loss or gain. This is where calories come into view. Calories measures how much energy food provides to the body. You must “count calories” depending on your personal health goals and understanding the metabolism definition is essential. In addition to counting calories, you must understand how to burn them and how many you need to burn to reach personal health goals.
Now that you’ve learned about how metabolism works, you may want to try changing it. Can you change your metabolism? The answer is yes! Many people ignore the metabolism definition in weight loss. Weight control is much easier and more effective with a higher metabolism. Here are three tips on how you can speed it up. The first step is to get lots of exercise. Muscle speeds the metabolism causing the body to work more efficiently to process food faster and increase appetite. Secondly, don’t skip meals! Space meals 3-4 hours apart is the best way to consume foods needed for daily energy. Lastly, watch what you eat. The old saying of “you are what you eat” is true and what you eat influences your metabolism and mood. This will affect whether you feel energetic, sluggish, moody, etc. Foods that are high in sugar, saturated fats, artificial sweeteners, and low in water and fiber will slow digestion and cause weight gain.