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FRIEND OR FOE?

You must have heard about metabolism and mostly in relation to weight. A Lot of debate and discussion are carried on how metabolism and weight are inter-related.

Higher metabolism easier it is to lose weight and keep it off. Similarly, slow metabolism is linked to weight gain and difficulty in losing weight.

This brings us to the most vital question, is metabolism the real culprit when it comes to weight? Canย it be used to achieve our weight loss goals? How to boost metabolism?

WHAT IS METABOLISM?

Metabolism is a biochemical process that is carried out in each and every cell of the body. Metabolism is the process through which the food that we eat is converted to energy.

Whether at work or rest your body needs energy. Even for basic functions like breathing, circulation, repair and maintenance, hormonal synthesis the body needs energy. The calories spent to support these basic functions are known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR) or metabolism.

  • Anabolism

    Here the energy is used to build new cells and tissues, repair and maintain body cells. The energy from food is stored as fat

  • Catabolism

    It is where the energy from food and stored as fat and glycogen are used to keep the body running.

More or less metabolism is defined by genetic but can be altered in certain cases and medical conditions.

FACTORS THAT AFFECT

Metabolism of an individual is affected by several factors like-

  1. Age โ€“ our metabolism decreases as our age increases. We start to lose muscle mass and start storing fat as a result of which metabolism slows down.
  2. Body size-People with larger built and more muscle burn more calories, at rest and thus have a higher metabolic rate.
  3. Gender-men have a faster metabolism than women because they have higher muscle mass compared to women of the same age.
  4. Physical activity- exercising has been known to boost metabolism. By changing the amount and type of physical activity the number of calories burned each day can be increased.
  5. Thermogenesisโ€“ the food we eat is digested, absorbed, transported and stored. Each of these processes required energy and thus affects metabolism.
  6. Medical conditions โ€“ like metabolic disorder and hormonal disorders directly affect the rate of metabolism. Hormonal disorders are generally related to the thyroid gland as it regulates metabolism. In addition, several nutrient deficiencies also slow down it.

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METABOLISM AND WEIGHT LOSS

Some people eat less but still are not able to lose weight while others eat whatever they like and yet do not gain weight. Ever since the role of metabolism in weight management has been revealed, people blame metabolism for all their weight-related problems. But isย it a real culprit?

Metabolism is a natural process and determines the way the energy is used in the body. But we cannot blame metabolism as the sole reason for the rising problem of excessive weight gain and obesity.ย  Weight gain is a complex process and several factors play a role like genetics, hormonal control, stress, dietary habits, and level of physical activity.

Some people are able to lose weight quickly and easily while others struggle hard and long.ย It is the key to weight loss. This is part truth and part myth.

In simple terms, weight gain occurs when the energy equations fall out of balance meaning the calories consumed are more than the calories burned. Regardless of the rate of metabolism, our body is designed to store excess energy as fat. So if you eat excess calories weight gain will follow similarly if you eat fewer calories than the stored energy in the body is broken down promoting weight loss. Starvation, on the other hand, will lower metabolism as a result calorie expenditure decreases to conserve energy.

So when it comes to weight loss metabolism is important. Coupled with eating a balanced, calorie controlled diet and increasing physical activity can help you lose weight and keep it off.