What is Metabolism?
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"Some people think that the metabolism is a kind of organ, or a body part, that influences digestion."
Actually, the metabolism isn’t any particular body part. It’s the process by which the body converts food into energy. Hence, you’ve likely heard of the phrase metabolic process used synonymously with the term metabolism, because they both mean the same thing.
The Medical Mumbo Jumbo
This isn’t a complicated medical text (which should be great news to most of you!), and so we don’t need to spend an unnecessary amount of time and space focusing on the layered complexity of the human body and its extraordinary intelligence. Yet without drilling deeply into medical details which are not relevant for our general understanding purposes it’s helpful to briefly look at the biological mechanisms behind metabolism.
Metabolism, as mentioned above, is the process of transforming food (e.g. nutrients) into fuel (e.g. energy). The body uses this energy to conduct a vast array of essential functions. In fact, your ability to read this page literally is driven by your metabolism. If you had no metabolism that is, if you had no metabolic process that was converting food into energy – then you wouldn’t be able to move. In fact, long before you realized that you couldn’t move a finger or lift your foot, your internal processes would have stopped; because the basic building blocks of life circulating blood, transforming oxygen into carbon dioxide, expelling potentially lethal wastes through the kidneys and so on all of these depend on metabolism.
Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone say that they have a slow metabolism. While they may struggle with unwanted weight gain due to metabolic factors, they certainly have a functioning metabolism. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t even be able to speak (because that, too, requires energy that comes from, you guessed it: metabolism!).
It’s also interesting to note that, while we conveniently refer to the metabolic process as if it were a single function, it’s really a catch-all term for countless functions that are taking place inside the body. Every second of every minute of every day of your life even, of course, when you sleep numerous chemical conversions are taking place through metabolism, or metabolic functioning. In a certain light, the metabolism has been referred to as a harmonizing process that manages to achieve two critical bodily functions that, in a sense, seem to be at odds with each other.
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