Obesity has become a major health problem today. As much as 35% of the adult American population are obese, and it’s considered a chronic disease by health institutions like American Medical Association. One of the ways to deal with obesity is to improve metabolism. Having a faster metabolism means your body can digest and process food faster, thus giving you quick energy without leading to obesity.
However, metabolism isn’t the only factor that affects your weight. Let’s look at this relationship in more detail.
Why Do We Gain Weight?
One of the reasons we gain weight is that we consume more calories than we burn. It’s not so straightforward but for simplicity’s sake, let’s go with calories in versus calories out as the core of metabolism.
We’re exposed to calories whether we like it or not, and we take in those calories through our food, especially in desserts and beverages. The number of calories we consume can vary substantially from day to day.
The reason why the body may be able to use more calories than it takes in is quite simple: metabolically active tissues such as muscle tissue oxidize glucose for fuel all the time. Your body doesn’t want useless fat sitting around, so it oxidizes this fat to use as fuel.
If your body is starving for glucose, it will also take up the fatty acids that you’ve stored in adipose tissue to use as fuel. So even though you might take in fewer calories than you burn, your body still has access to enough calories to sustain you.
What else influences our weight?
The number of calories we consume vs. the number of calories we burn isn’t the only thing that influences our weight. Our bodies are complex systems that respond differently to different foods and other stimuli.
The food we consume and the way we eat affect the production and elimination of our body’s main fuel: glucose. The gut and liver can also take in more glucose than they use, so the amount of glucose the body takes in is affected by what we eat.
Influence of Hormones
The process by which we maintain stable blood sugar levels is controlled via a complicated feedback system involving your brain, hormones, nerves, genes, metabolic rate, hormones, gut motility (the speed at which food moves through your digestive tract), biochemical pathways within your cells that control cellular metabolism, hormone levels (especially insulin), and hormones that control pain tolerance or exertion tolerance (both endocrine and immune).
The role that our bodies’ hormones play is particularly fascinating. Not only does the body create its own fuel, but it also controls how much of this fuel we can store as fat and as muscle mass. Your body directly controls your metabolic rate. This may also affect your body’s weight and lead to obesity.
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