Typefreediabetes.com - Understanding Your Metabolism

Your metabolism includes the chemical and physical processes that help your body grow and function.

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Your metabolism includes the chemical and physical processes that help your body grow and function. These processes help your body breaks down and convert food to energy and cell building material. Diabetes happens when some of the many process break down.

Simply put: food + metabolic process = energy + cell building material.

While many people believe that they have a "slow" metabolism if they are overweight, the fact is: they may simply be eating too much of the wrong foods to help them lose weight. Your metabolism simply determines the amount of calories that you are able to burn each day. A calorie (Cal) is a unit of energy.

However, there are some factors that may wreak havoc with your metabolic functions, such as skipping meals, crash dieting, and eating too much sugar. These behaviors may be especially dangerous for diabetics, who already suffer from impaired insulin function and high blood sugar levels.

Here's some basic information you need to know about your metabolism and how to get it working for you.

Basal Metabolic Rate

Your basal metabolic rate takes up about 66 to 75 percent (%) of all of your caloric needs for the day, including 10 percent of which are needed to help your body digest food, absorb vitamins and nutrients. Your additional caloric needs will be based on your activity level.

How Metabolism Works

The first act of metabolism is digestion. This mechanical and chemical process begins the moment food enters your mouth. It takes between thirty and sixty minutes for half of your solid food to be processed and emptied from your stomach. Once emptied from your stomach, this mixture is filtered into your small intestine, where it will be further broken down by enzymes and absorbed.

How different foods are affected by metabolism

Different foods offer different energy and building material. Different foods will create different glucose levels. Diabetics need to be especially concerned with their intake of carbohydrates, which raise the blood glucose level to different heights based on the type of carbohydrate you eat. A carbohydrate with a high glycemic index (over 100) will quickly increase your blood glucose (to about 170 (mg) milligrams of glucose per deciliter of blood (dL) soon after being eaten. It will then cause your blood glucose to fall below baseline about two and a half hours later as your body regulates your glucose levels. However, a low glycemic carbohydrate will slowly increase your blood glucose (up to about 130 mg/dL) and then cause your blood glucose to slowly fall below baseline about two and a half hours after you eat it.

How does diabetes impact the metabolism?

When someone has Type 2 Diabetes, they either produce insufficient amounts of insulin and/or some of their cells resist the role of insulin.

Crash Diets Hurt Metabolism

Millions of Americans try fad diets, which often include crash diets in which they starve their bodies of food and nutrients. These diets often actually hurt the metabolism and slow it down. Here's how: a normal metabolism requires a balance of caloric intake and output. Caloric intake gives people have energy for daily tasks and help their bodies continue to function properly.

When your body is in starvation mode, it automatically saves calories as fat and uses the least amount of calories to operate. The body will perform an automatic triage in order to stay alive by deciding which organs should get calories first. That's why many people on crash diets and starvation diets have severe side effects of the diet, which may include organ failure, and often gain considerable weight after they adopt a healthier meal plan.

Weight Lifting Can Increase Your Metabolic Rate

There are some activities that can increase your metabolic rate. First, keep in mind that metabolism is designed to send energy to those organs and body functions that require energy to work. Muscles require a large amount of energy to use. However, maintaining muscle mass also requires energy. Therefore, even when you are not actively using your muscles, they require more energy than fat. Each pound of muscle that you have burns around 6 calories a day, compared to a pound of fat, which burns only 2 calories a day.

How abdominal fat impacts metabolism

Abdominal fat appears to be associated with impaired glucose uptake, which means that there seems to be a correlation to the presence of abdominal fat and the body's inability to turn sugars into energy. Instead of turning food to energy immediately, sugars tend to travel throughout the body's blood vessels damaging them, associated nerves and organs. Rapid weight loss in long-term diabetic’s show that excess blood sugars are not converted to fat without extra insulin.

As a result of many studies, the Expert Panel on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults determined that individuals have a greater risk for metabolic disease if they have a waist circumference greater than 40" (men) and 35" (women).

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