What are the factors that affect metabolic rate? First, metabolism is the medical expression that describes the process of turning food into energy. It is essential for building and repairing tissues besides all other primary body functions like digestion and breathing.
Cells specifically mitochondria, is where metabolism takes place. So, we can simply identify the metabolism by being the oxidative process of macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) to give Co2 and energy in the form of a molecule called (ATP). Fatty acids are a super-rich source of energy, as their oxidation yields Co2 and energy 6 times more than glucose oxidation.
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What are the factors that affect metabolic rate?:
In fact, the rate of oxidation or metabolism depends mainly on the cell’s need for energy that is regulated by several enzymes like adrenalin. So, these enzymes levels depend on several factors that include:
1- Environmental factors:
From childhood to maturity, the human body experiences multiple developmental challenges. These challenges can be directly linked to metabolism behavior in adulthood.
To mimic the effect of a stressful environment, a study exposed house sparrows to cortisol. After that, they found a decrease in the resting metabolic rate in both the postnatal and the adult sparrows. This variation in metabolic rate led to a decrease in overnight weight loss.
So, we can conclude that prolonged high cortisol levels from living in a stressful environment increases metabolism and weight gain.
Muscles are the main organ that takes the energy from metabolized nutrients. However, as we grow older, we begin to experience gradual deterioration in muscles and their function. As a result, muscles’ need for energy decreases making the metabolism slower.
3- Fats and carbohydrates intake V.S. exercises
Definitely, food intake and exercises are important in metabolism regulation. Nonetheless, not all types of carbohydrates affect metabolism equally, as studies proved that different types have different metabolic responses over the first 24 hours of ingestion. check out what foods are considered low glycemic index.
The scientists used two mice groups for the study. The first group was fed diet rich in fat and sucrose, while the other group was fed starch instead of sucrose. However, the two groups coupled their diet with exercises.
After 10 weeks, it was found that mice fed on a high-fat high-sucrose diet have a faster metabolism than mice fed on a
High-starch diet. However, it turned out that exercises have the highest effect on metabolism during the first hour.
4- Exercises and daily activity:
Normally, exercises are accompanied by an increase in the muscles’ need for energy that accordingly boost metabolism.
A study was conducted on overweight prediabetic men proved that resistance exercises after meals improve lipid metabolism. Also, exercises were linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes.
5- Weight history & race:
There are many equations to measure resting energy expenditure (REE). In other words, there are equations that can calculate the caloric need per day.
However, most of these formulas can be misleading because of the huge variabilities affecting metabolism. However, the Harris-Benedict (HB) formula provides the highest level of accuracy.
But still, the Harris-Benedict (HB) formula may give inaccurate results in the presence of weight history and ethnicity (race and genes) variations. So, this proves that weight history and ethnicity are important factors that contribute to the metabolic rate.
6- Hormonal factors:
Hormones regulate all body functions, including metabolism. Thyroid hormones have a direct impact on the metabolic response. As studies revealed that higher thyroid hormones cause higher body fat composition and lower muscle mass.
7- Meal timing:
Paying attention to meal timing is the key to maintain weight loss through optimum metabolic rate. As studies proved that there is a direct link between storing fats in the body and irregular eating times.
A study made on pigs to test the effect of different meal timing on metabolism. They divided pigs into 2 groups. The first group ate in the morning only, while the other group ate only at night. The pigs’ digestion remained the same, but the group fed at night showed an increase in fat deposition.
8- Calcium levels:
Also, minerals turned out to play an important role in metabolism. This appears clearly in menopause when women suffer from severe calcium deficiency. As low estrogen-levels show to impair calcium metabolism, causing a reduction in bone mineral density and leads to visceral fat accumulation.
The Bottom Line:
Finally, from the above-mentioned factors, we can conclude that metabolism is a deeply complex process.
However, these variations make it impossible for anybody to have the same metabolic rate as another. Fortunately, this can explain why some fail with certain diets while others accomplish huge success with the same diets.
Despite that, studies continue to explore more about metabolism, and by the time we get a clear picture.
So, a better understanding of metabolism will open the doors for new approaches to weight control and obesity reduction.
On a personal level, a better understanding of metabolism may help anyone to know where they stand and take decisions according to this.