Rates of overweight have reached epidemic proportions, and this is especially true in the United States. Depending on the statistics, an astonishing sixty-six percent of adults in the United States are overweight. Put another way, two of every three adults in the US is overweight. It’s a remarkable reality. With so many overweight people in the United States, it’s a certainty that a lot of emphasis would be placed on prospective weight loss methods.
One word that gets thrown about a lot when talking about weight loss is metabolism. Metabolism has become a generic term to a degree, but the guess here is that most people aren’t genuinely aware of what metabolism refers to: only that it plays a role in body weight. Metabolism is actually a set of chemical reactions that occur within living cells. Metabolism in fact allows cells to grow and reproduce. Referring to the term metabolism when talking about body weight regulation is overly broad. What actually affects body weight is calories, and more specifically, how many calories are consumed versus how many calories are burned in energy consumption.
Calorie is a measurement for the amount of energy a source of food gives the body. The more calories a food source has, the more energy that food source provides to the body. With respect to calories, the adage of more isn’t always better holds quite a bit of truth. If more calories are taken in than are needed to fuel the body, the calories are stored by the body, often as fat. The significant issue for body weight then is how much calorie fuel a particular body uses. The answer obviously varies. An infant will need less calorie fuel than an adult will. But averaging things out, calorie fuel usage is determined by how much energy a person expends. Energy typically takes the form of physical exertion. The more physically active a person is, the more calorie energy they tend to burn.
Where metabolism comes into the equation in body weight is through what’s known as basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate essentially refers to the amount of caloric energy a person burns while at rest. This is influenced again by how physically active a person is on average. The more active a person is generally, the higher their basal metabolic rate. The term metabolism then is not entirely accurate when discussing body weight issues. The more proper reference would be basal metabolic rate. But the notion of burning energy with exercise is accurate, and there’s certainly a correlation between burned energy and a healthy weight.