COVID-19 has required us to stay at home and not socialize with people in groups. This self-imposed isolation has lead to mental and emotional stress. But this has also lead to more eating and less exercise. So, tonight, the Perpetual Notion Machine looks into metabolism, the system of processing food for energy. Dale Schoeller, Emeritus Professor in nutrition sciences at UW-Madison, explains to PNM’er Dennis Shaffer that metabolism is a complex system that includes not only the digestive system, but also the endocrine systems, which controls and regulates the metabolic rate.
Of all the foods that we eat, metabolism breaks it down into three compounds that the cells in the body use for energy: fatty acids, glucose, and amino acids. But keep in mind, the energy used by the body goes not just for physical activity. There’s keeping the heart beating and blood flowing, breathing in and exhaling air, cognition for thought and learning, sensory ability, and a host of other functions. And also, another form of energy is heat to maintain a consistent body temperature.
Diet (what you eat) and exercise (physical activity) appear to be the best way of burning fat and losing weight. And perhaps the best measure of this is through the number of calories.
Also, metabolism can be affected by sleep. Dale was the lead author of a study that was published in February where the subjects were able to increase the amount of sleep by about an hour and half each night. And without any change in diet, they managed to reduce their food intake by an average of 270 calories a day. For more information on the study, check out this press release from UChicago.
And a webpage from the Cleveland Clinic has a nice explanation of metabolism.
Image Courtesy: zuzyusa from Pixabay
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