Imagine you're sitting at a table with a circle of friends eating in a fine restaurant. One of them likes to keep tabs on the foods he ate. He was so meticulous on watching his food portions in fear of ruining his diet regimen. One friend, on the other hand, just keep on eating everything in sight. You noticed how the former person was glaring the latter mixed with envious and irritation.
Now, my question is, does the scenario sound familiar to you? I bet you've already encountered this scene. It may be that you're the one who eats mindlessly, yet is still blessed to have a slim and fit body. Or worse, you're the first one who punishes himself into dieting, depriving, calorie counting and all just to lose weight, but little to none at all. Sometimes it left you frustrated and angry about how life is so unfair!
But before you started fretting and sulking in the corner, read this post first to shed some light about your body. We need to understand how our body and metabolism works so that we can formulate an appropriate diet that will work for us. A diet that will work long-term and we can adapt to a healthy lifestyle.
So, What Really is Metabolism?
Metabolism, in general, is the sum of all physiological and biochemical reactions happening in our body to sustain life. To put it simply, it is the overall mechanism of our body in order to help our body survive.
So, whether we're eating, doing exercise, moving, or resting, it triggers a cause-and-effect reaction in order to maintain homeostasis. Otherwise, our body functions will be disrupted. There are two major processes that our metabolism undergo.
Autonomic Nervous System
This is known as the master regulator of metabolism and it also has two divisions namely: Sympathetic and Parasympathetic. These two divisions are the exact opposite, yet they compliment each other to establish a balance in your body (aka homeostasis).
An example phenomenon is your heartbeat. The Sympathetic nervous stimulation will cause your heart to beat faster and louder when you're in fear, nervousness, or joy. On the other hand, Parasympathetic stimulation slows your heartbeat, especially when resting or calming down.
Likewise, there are certain organs and bodily functions that are triggered by the Parasympathetic. While others have balanced organs and glands between Sympathetic and Parasympathetic influences. From these two divisions alone, we can draw out three metabolism types namely:
- Parasympathetic Type
This system is mainly concerned with the maintenance and regulation of energy in your body. It involves 3 important intracellular processes:
Citric Acid Cycle
Around 20% of your potential energy comes from the combustion of carbohydrates in Glycolysis. While the 80% comes from the Citric Acid Cycle. The combination of Oxaloacetate (from the combustion in Glycolysis) and Acetyl Coenzyme-A (from metabolizing fats in Beta Oxidation) produces the energy you need in your body. It must be balanced, otherwise, your energy production will be deficient.
Those people who are Fast Oxidizers are poor at metabolizing fats since and tend to burn carbs quickly, leaving excess oxaloacetate.
Types of Metabolism
We learned that there is three possible Metabolic Typing in each control systems namely:
Autonomic Nervous System
Slow Oxidizer Type
Mixed Oxidizer Type
- Fast Oxidizer Type
Hence, we can derive 9 possible metabolic typing if we combine both systems:
|Sympathetic Fast||Balanced Fast||Parasympathetic Fast|
|Sympathetic Mixed||Balanced Mixed||Parasympathetic Mixed|
|Sympathetic Slow||Balanced Slow||Parasympathetic Slow|
In each pair, one system will be dominant, either the Autonomic or Oxidative System. You need to take note of this because the dominant system will dictate how much nutrients will your body need. And this will be your basis in determining what foods to eat and formulate your own, customized, diet regimen based on your metabolic type.