What is Metabolism?

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So many ads for teas, pills, and foods that talk about it helping you to lose weight by “speeding up” your metabolism, helping you lose weight. At the same time, blogs and magazine articles are telling you that as you age, your metabolism will slow down, making it easier to gain weight.

What is this seemingly magical yet evil thing called metabolism? It’s not a substance, or a little thing that changes “speed” as if it were a tire or a cog in a clock. A lot of people use the word, but few know what it is.

To understand what metabolism is, we need to understand how our body uses energy and obtains energy.

When we eat food, our body breaks it down into different substances, and one of the most important is glucose. Glucose is the main energy source for our body. This glucose has calories (energy) that is used for all of our body’s biological processes.

Metabolism is just that – all of the biological and chemical processes our body carries out to keep itself alive and healthy. And that is a lot of work – it must grow, reproduce, repair damage and constantly adapt to the changing environment around us.

As our body’s needs change, so does our energy expenditure. When we are teenagers, for example, our body is growing and developing at an incredible rate, so we need more energy, and thus our metabolism is “faster”.

As we grow older, we are no longer developing or reproducing, rather just maintaining ourselves. This requires less energy, and thus a “slower” metabolism. This makes it easier to gain weight.

If you feel that you are restricting calories, and are still having trouble losing weight, keep in mind that some of the other things that influence our metabolism are: our sleep patterns, what we eat, hormone levels, and our exercise routines. Sleep eight hours a day, eat a balanced diet, and carry out regular exercise to keep your metabolism in tip-top shape.

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