We can often hear the sentences: „Ah, she has a good metabolism, so she can eat what she wants and she won’t gain weight,“ or :“ I have a slow metabolism, everything I eat sticks…“ You’ve probably recognized yourself in one of these sentences. So, what is metabolism? Metabolism, or the exchange of substances is a collective of chemical reactions which take place in the living organism to keep it alive. Those processes enable the organism to grow, reproduce, maintain its structure and react to the environment. According to chemical reactions we differ two types of metabolism:
1. Catabolism, which disintegrates organic substances (i.e. energy geathered by cellular breathing).
2. Anabolism, which uses energy for integration of cellular parts (biosynthesis of organic metter) like proteins, nucleic acids, etc. Basic metabolic processes in our body are:
- Proteins metabolism
- Metabolism of carbohydrates
- Metabolism of lipids
A very important term is basal metabolism, which is defined as the minimal quantity of energy needed to keep basic living functions in a normal state of awake organism. Every person has different basal metabolism, and it depends on the age, sex, physical and daily activities, energy spending during the work, eating habits, genetic predisposition, etc.
We can calculate basal metabolism by using the following formula: body weight (in kilos) x 20 kcal On gained value we admix the energy quantity spent during the day, and we take equivalent of that energy and feed it to our organism to maintain the same weight. Such monitoring of calories is one of the ways for losing weight, but it can be quite hard so, in long term, it is more important to learn which viand contains certain nutritive substances, in which ratio, and how they affect human organism. Metabolism becomes slower with age, and that can be contributed by decreased physical activity, a way of life in which you often sit (office job, driving a car, taking an elevator), bad eating habits and frequent experimenting with diets. The good news is that metabolism can be accelerated in the following ways:
- Don’t skip meals, eat 5 smaller meals instead of 3 irregular and heavy ones
- Replace simple carbohydrates with complex ones
- Do aerobic excercise at least three times a day
- Get enough sleep