Metabolism - how fast we fight obesity
Written by: Blanka Junová
Do you want to slim down, but can't?
None of the "guaranteed" diets work for you, so you just
refrain from eating or come to terms with your fate? Perhaps you
just need to understand your body's mechanisms and listen to your
WE LIVE IN A TIME when obesity is a serious problem in the developed
world, with many health ramifications. More than one half of the
population of Europe and North America is overweight; about 40%
of the affected persons are currently dieting, but only 5% of them
will achieve the desired result. There is increasing awareness of
the importance of preventing obesity. Losing weight is a long-term
process, and it is important to understand the mechanisms of losing
excess weight. One of these is metabolism.
Metabolism is a set of biochemical processes found in every living
organism, which regulates the creation or elimination of bodily
tissues. The speed of these processes is called the metabolic quotient.
In simple terms, metabolic quotient is the rate at which the organism
burns the calories it ingests. It is different with each individual,
and explains why some people can eat as much as they want, while
others must always carefully weigh the quality and quantity of the
food they eat. And although the metabolic quota is in place from
birth, it can be affected by choosing appropriate physical activity,
factors that raise the metabolism:
· higher muscle-to-fat ratio
· physical activity
· regular meals
· well-balanced diet
· warm climate
· increased temperature (fever, sauna, etc.)
that slow the metabolism:
· higher fat-to-muscle ratio
· insufficient physical activity
· advancing age
· fasting and/or low-calory diets
· insufficiency of basic nutrients (mainly iodine)
· cold climate
It is generally known that during physical activity the body burns
stored and recently created energy. However, there are many other
important factors concerning metabolic activity itself.
One of these is the maintaining of a heightened metabolic quotient
for several hours after the physical work of the muscles has been
completed. This means that the body is able to burn off ingested
calories not only during, but also after activity. So doing aerobic
exercises is best in the morning hours as a start to the day, or
shortly before a main meal.
Another favorable consequence of long-term physical activity is
the change in the ratio of muscle to fat. Because muscles are far
more metabolically active than fat, they also ensure a higher metabolic
quotient at times when they are not physically active. Exercises
intended to contribute to muscle growth and tone, are especially
important after thirty, when the metabolic quotient begins to gradually
A balanced, appropriate diet is another means for influencing metabolic
speed. Ingesting sufficient nutrients (vitamins, minerals, amino
acids, etc.) is important, as they are required for the proper course
of metabolic processes. Obviously, the amount of food and the distribution
of meals during the day is also important. It is recommended to
eat smaller portions five or six times a day, with the biggest meal
at breakfast or lunch.
· 55% of the energy released from comestibles escapes as
heat, and 45% is used by the body for the work of its organs
· Men's metabolisms are 10% higher as a rule than are women's.
· The average overall fat content of a man is 15%, while for
women it is roughly 25%.
· The metabolic quotient declines with advancing age: between
50 and 60 this decline reaches 15%, and at 70 it is 30%.
· The average individual approaching 50 has about 10% more
body fat than he/she did at 25.
· When fasting or limiting caloric intake, the metabolic quotient
decreases. This decrease can be permanent, depending on the
length of deprivation.
The thyroid gland
It should be noted that the thyroid gland plays a role in our body
weight, as it is the main metabolism-regulating organ. It must receive
key elements such as iodine and the amino acid tyrosine in order
to function properly and produce the necessary hormones. Also important
are vitamins E, A, B2, B3, B6, and C, as well as zinc. When there
is a question of imbalanced thyroid function, a specialist should