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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Metabolism Highlighted in the Media

Metabolism loosely defined is how we burn food for fuel. There are rare causes of diseases of our metabolism that occur in about 1/100,000 individuals and are usually diagnosed at birth. These disorders are usually single enzymes that won't allow for certain nutrients to be accessed from food. In other conditions there are foods that just cannot be processed so that their by products accumulate in dangerous levels, but none of these conditions typically are the cause of being overweight or obese. What we believe about our metabolism is filled with myth, hopeful thinking and urban lore. We run on a lot of sugar, or more specifically the sugar glucose. And this is regulated by our thyroid gland and our insulin. Glucose is either ingested, made in the body, or obtained from the breakdown of bigger carbohydrate molecules such as glycogen. This then controls what we burn and what we store. And, if stored food, what form is it going to be stored in. For instance will you store it as fat, or build muscle. Lots of other functions are covered by our metabolism: like the pace our organs function, the oxygen we deliver to tissue, and the temperature we keep our body at. Exactly how specifically this works, to a large extent, is the source of our metabolism. We need to burn these foods all day and all night. Exactly how much you burn is regulated by a lot of factors. We think little thin people have a faster metabolism, but lots of tissues needing fuel actually are burning at a greater rate. And muscles burn the most energy of all the tissues, if you weigh the same as you weighed in your youth, but have less muscles then you are burning less calories in a day than you did then. A popular myth discussed on line about your metabolism is how often we eat and daily distribution of calories between the meals we do eat.Lots of advice, some of it based on small studies that have some truth but generally this isn't enough to derail your whole metabolism. It turns out, all patterns of eating can work. Essentially it is how you like to eat, and how you can control your calories. Skipping breakfast? Eating many meals? Eating too much late at night? If you can control total calories with how you like to conveniently eat your food, you can both maintain healthy weight or lose weight if this is what you want to do. Some foods do burn more energy, and pharmacological control over the metabolism is possible from substances like caffeine. Since thyroid is so critical, derangement in how our thyroid works by factors such as cigarette smoking, pesticide exposure and other medications. Medications that help our metabolism to return haven't exactly been found, although that is what replacement of thyroid deficiency does. Medications to lose weight help the calorie intake stay in check, and then you and your gyno have to figure out the rest of the tricks to speed up the metabolism and speed up the loss.



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