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What is a fast metabolism? How does metabolism work? Basic metabolic function, its effects on our normal biological processes, and metabolism definition are discussed in the following article. To learn about metabolism function and performance, buy Metabolism & Medicine here. Find further metabolism definition and the intersection of metabolic performance and modern physics in volume one and volume two of Dr. Brian Fertig’s detailed work on the metabolic landscape of health and disease.

You probably have friends who bemoan the slowness of their metabolic function. I hardly ever eat — why do I gain weight so easily?

You might also have acquaintances and friends who never worry about their weight — they simply eat what they want and retain a slender physique.

Whether you experience difficulty in losing weight or gaining weight, you’ve likely heard that the root cause lies in whether you have a fast metabolism or slow metabolism.

But how does metabolism work?

Is a Fast Metabolism Important?

If you have ever wanted to lose or gain weight, you’ve probably given a lot of thought to your metabolism and asked the following questions:

  • How much of a role does a fast metabolism play in weight management?
  • Is the efficiency of your metabolism genetically predetermined?
  • Is it possible to achieve a fast metabolism through diet, exercise, or medical intervention?
  • Is a fast metabolism more important than caloric intake?

A combination of genetic and environmental influences determines the answer to these questions.

Living organisms produce and break down energy through a series of chemical reactions known as metabolism. Calorie expenditure or burn is a simple measure of how much energy your body expends.

To burn calories, our bodies use the following different methods:

  • A person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) measures how much energy you need to maintain your body’s function even when at rest. The genes that you inherit play a major role in determining your BMR.
  • In the course of everyday activities (working, moving, etc.).
  • By exercising on a regular basis.

An individual’s metabolism is partly influenced by genetic factors and a great deal by circumstances. There is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the issue of changing a person’s basic metabolic rate. It’s just a matter of luck for some people; due to the genetics they inherited, they have a faster metabolism and can eat more than others without gaining weight as a result. Other people do not need as many calories to execute their normal physical functions; if they consume more calories than they need, they are prone to weight gain.

Want a Fast Metabolism? Move More!

While there are medical issues that contribute to metabolic efficiency, a healthy individual’s metabolism is not inflexibly fast or slow; our metabolism continually adjusts to our bodies’ age, circumstances, and needs. Severe caloric restriction can actually slow down a person’s metabolism. At the same time, weight gain can cause a person’s metabolic rate to rise due to the additional energy demands of a heavier frame. However, though a heavy person expends a higher number of calories during activities than a lean person, a heavy person is more likely to spend a greater proportion of the day in a sedentary fashion. In contrast, a naturally leaner person is more or less continuously active, either intentionally (exercising, working) or unintentionally (fidgeting or pacing).

Our metabolism is an intricate, highly complicated network of processes that are influenced by our activities, environment, and genetic makeup. While there are no simple answers to speeding up or slowing down your metabolism, understanding basic metabolic function can help you better grasp how it relates to overall human health.

Author Dr. Brian Fertig founded the Diabetes and Osteoporosis Center in Piscataway, New Jersey, in 1994. He is Chairman of the Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology at Hackensack Meridian Health — JFK University Medical Center and is an Associate Professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is dedicated to exploring the relationship between physics and biology in medicine.

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