A Primer on Metabolism for Students in Nutrition and Health ProgramsJuly 18, 2017
Many individuals who are on a wellness and weight loss journey attribute their slow progress to having an inadequate metabolism. While metabolism does play a crucial role in helping our bodies maintain and regulate a healthy weight, it usually isn’t the only culprit when individuals are struggling with weight loss.
However, metabolic rates will vary slightly from person to person, and there are certain metabolic conditions that can prevent an individual’s metabolism from working effectively. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of these factors, so you can guide your future clients to the best weight loss or wellness solutions for their needs.
If you’re considering a career in nutrition and health, read on for a quick introduction to metabolism.
Students in Nutrition and Health Programs Understand How Metabolism Works
Metabolism is the body’s process of taking food and converting it into usable energy to power all body functions, from walking to sleeping, breathing, and more. The metabolic process starts when food is eaten. The body begins breaking down the food using molecules called enzymes, which turn food into a source of energy that the body can use. The blood absorbs these energy sources and begins transporting them around the body. Depending on the body’s current state, this energy can either be used by the body immediately or stored as fat. Any energy consumed that is above and beyond what the body needs to function will be stored as excess fat. This is the body’s way of protecting itself against famine and starvation.
One important concept that graduates of nutrition and health programs know is that the body has what is called a Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). An individual’s BMR indicates how many calories their body’s metabolism will burn at a resting state. This is the absolute minimum amount of calories that any individual should eat in a day. On average, a person’s BMR uses about 60 to 70 per cent of their daily calorie intake.
Students in Nutrition and Health Programs Know Some Factors Affect Metabolism
As mentioned earlier, many individuals who are struggling to lose weight may believe that part of the problem is that they have a particularly slow metabolism. While metabolisms tend to vary slightly, an inability to lose weight is more likely to be attributed to an individual’s diet, exercise regime, or possibly an illness.
As professionals with a diploma in nutrition know, there are some factors that do affect metabolism, though. Most of the differences are a result of muscle mass. Individuals who have more muscle will burn more calories, because muscle burns more calories than fat. This forms the foundation of why age and gender can impact metabolism. Women as well as older individuals tend to have less muscle mass, and therefore, burn fewer calories.
In addition to factors like age, gender, weight, and height, certain medical conditions can impact the body’s metabolic rate, making it too fast or too slow. Some diseases that impact the body’s metabolism include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, diabetes, and various metabolic disorders.
Ways to Help Improve Your Clients’ Metabolism After Earning Your Diploma in Nutrition
While it’s difficult to create drastic changes in an individual’s metabolism in a safe and sustainable way, there are certain things that can be done to kick-start the metabolic rate. Exercising more and building lean muscle mass will help the body burn more calories at a resting state. In addition, ensuring that your clients are eating filling breakfasts and aren’t fasting throughout the day will prevent their metabolism from slowing down and storing excess energy. On top of these factors, a healthy metabolic rate is always supported by well-rounded nutrition that includes lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and a regular exercise routine.
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