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What Is Metabolism?What Is Metabolism?


What is metabolism?

Metabolism is a group of chemical reactions that converts the fuel in food into energy, which can be used for processes such as breathing, blood circulation, and movement. Your metabolism determines the number of calories you need each day.

The number of calories needed by the body to operate at rest is known as the basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is heavily influenced by muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more energy you need. As a result, men tend to have higher BMRs than women, and our metabolism typically declines as we age and lose muscle mass.

According to Mayo Clinic, BMR makes up 70 percent of the calories used each day. The remaining 30 percent comes from digesting food (thermogenesis) and from exercise. Despite the common belief that we can alter our metabolism, our BMR remains fairly consistent throughout adulthood. There are medical conditions that slow metabolism, but they are rare.

Instead of falling for miracle products that claim to speed up metabolism, turn your focus to the element you can control: exercise. Incorporating more activity into your day is the proven way to burn more calories. When you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight.


Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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