Chapter Summary:

Metabolism is the process the converts the food we eat into energy to fuel our bodies. We cannot live without metabolism. The metabolic process is the reason that we are able to carry out our daily body functions. Anabolism builds and stores, catabolism destroys. When new cells are being formed, or energy is being stored, it is the anabolic metabolism that is responsible for this process. When food is being broken down into energy that is going to be used by our body now, this is the catabolic metabolism at work.

Enzymes have many different important functions in the metabolic process. They start by breaking down the food we eat into compounds that can be converted into energy easily. Once these compounds are broken down into the basic components that can be converted into energy, enzymes in the bloodstream help to speed the metabolic process once these energy sources are in the cells. The enzymes can also be regulators of the metabolic process. Without enzymes in our cells, the chemical reactions that occur to make metabolism happen would not be there. The enzymes work to speed up chemical reactions without themselves being used up in the chemical reaction that occurs. They are also known as catalysts.

Basal Metabolic Rate:
The basal metabolic rate for a human being is the number of calories a person burns just by being alive. The body requires are certain amount of calories each day to carry out normal body functions like breathing, keeping the heart beating, maintaining endocrine functions and keeping homeostasis within the body. If a person laid in bed all day, never got up and hardly moved at all, their body would burn calories equivalent to their basal metabolic rate.

My BMR is1655.4 This means that to carry out my normal daily bodily functions, my body burns 1655.4 calories. This is calculated by using height, weight, age and gender. My height is 5'5", I weight 190 pounds, and I am a 28 year old female. The actual calculation is pretty complicated.
For women: BMR = 655 + (4.35 x Weight in pounds) + (4.7 x height in inches) - (4.7 x age in years) Source
Calculate your BMR here
My daily calorie requirements are 2276 calories per day to maintain my weight, bodily functions and give me enough calories to burn for light activity. Source
The biggest thing a person can do to increase their BMR is to add lean muscle to their body content. Muscle burns more calories than fat does and requires more energy to maintain itself than fat does as well. Another way is to eat foods that are easy for the body to digest, therefore reducing the amount that will get stored as fat.

People who are overweight or obese are at high risk for many life-threatening diseases like heart disease, cancer, diabetes mellitus, and congestive heart failure.Obesity is usually defines ad having a Body Mass Index over 30. Overweight is defined as having a BMI of 25.0-29.9. I think the BMI chart is misleading however. My cousin is a tall man with a lot of muscle. He is 6'2" and weighs about 250 pounds. According to the BMI chart, he is obese. He is not even close to obese, he is solid muscle. I think its a misleading chart and should somehow take muscle mass into consideration, not just height and weight.

Application to Nursing:
Metabolism has an interesting application to the field of nursing. It seems that women in nursing who work long 12 hour shifts are always trying to figure out a way to make the chaos of the job and their metabolism work together to produce magic miracle weight loss. Truth is, it's the chaos of the job and the long hours being on your feet, the lack of sleep and the unpredictable sometimes non existent meal times that make the job and metabolism work against each other. In order for metabolism to function properly, a person must continue to eat at regular intervals. I have heard that 5 or 6 small meals evenly spaced throughout the day is better for your metabolism than 3 large meals each day. By not eating at regular intervals, your body goes into starvation mode and it tries to protect itself because it doesn't know when the next meal will be. This starvation mode causes more of what we eat to be taken in as reserves rather than burnt off. This is the exact problem that nurses have with their eating schedules. They never know exactly how long they will have to go between meals, or if they will get to eat at all during their shift. I have had days where it is so hectic and busy that the next time I eat after my 6:30 am breakfast is when I get home and sit down for 8:00 supper; and sometimes its even later than that. Going nearly 14 hours between meals slows down the metabolism and any chances for weight loss are long gone at that point. It seems there is always the new fad diet out there that promises to "jump start your metabolism", and we as healthcare professionals should know better, but we buy into this stuff anyway.


Essential Question:
I found a product called AllDay Slim. It claoms to work by reducing the amount of hunger that a person feels and increasing the amount of fat that you burn whole you exercise. The product contains Assam fruit, Orange peel and Beeswax. Assam fruit is a plant that is found in Asia and claims to have anti-inflammatory properties as well as cholesterol-reducing properties. The assam fruit contains hydroxycitric acid that the human body can convert into potassium hydroxycitrate. Research has shown that potassium hydroxycitrate can reduce the synthesis of lipids into fatty acids and reduce the amount of absorption into the body. The reduced amount of absorption is though to be a contributor in reducing body weight. SourceThis, however was tested in rats. Rats continue to grow throughout their lives. Humans do not continue this constant growth. We reach a point where we stop growing. In the rats, it was actually a decrease in weight gain rather than an amount of weight loss that was noted. This product might work, but it is more likely that proper diet and exercise are the best wasys to lose weight. AllDay Slim Website
Crash diets do not work on a physiology level because the body will go into starvation mode if it is not fed enough. Not eating at regular intervals causes the body to go into starvation mode because it is not sure when it will get more nutrients so the body saves as much as it can and thinks it will need. Once the body is in this mode, the food we eat gets stored because the body is not used to being fed on a regular basis. I have had friends that have thought they could lose weight by only eating 500 calories per day. This is true that you can eventually lose weight this way, but it will be a long slow and painful process. The people that I have seen attempt this eventually get taken over by hunger and give in to their food cravings. The diet then becomes counterproductive because the food eaten is stored more than it is burned. Weight loss is not achieved and the vicious cycle starts all over again.