Science, Science

What is metabolism ?

People talk a lot about metabolism, but do you know what it means?

In our articles, we recap it with a quick definition: « the way our cells work ». But here is a more thorough definition:

The metabolism corresponds to the overall coupled reaction happening in cells of the organism. It’s made of two conflicting mechanisms:

  • The catabolism (or destructive metabolism): a destructive process, which consists in producing energy from absorbed nutrients (carbohydrate, lipids…);
  • The anabolism (or constructive metabolism): a chemical process which uses energy to synthesize the components necessary to the structure and the smooth running of the cells.

We also oppose the basal metabolism with the metabolism during exercise:


The basal metabolism

The basal metabolism is all the reactions needed to maintain vital body function of an organism (breathing, heart beating, brain fueling, body temperature, digestion…)

The basal metabolism depends on numerous factors:

  • height
  • weight
  • age
  • gender

The energy expenditure is usually between 1.200 and 2.000 kilocalories (food-borne) per day. The consumed leftover food is then stored by the body or have to be eliminated through exercise. In case of a nutritional deficiency (too strict diet), the basal metabolism changes. It learns to consume less and store more, hence a more important weight loss after the diet.


The metabolism during exercise

It corresponds to the increase of energy need for the smooth running of the organism when having physical exercise. Additional energy is indeed consumed by the working muscles, but this energy depends on the level of activity.

Increasing its basal metabolism and its metabolism during exercise at the same time is then an excellent way to lose weight. All the difficulty stays in the measure of the metabolism and the distinction between burned calories and burned fat…