What is the Basal Metabolism

Before undertaking a weight loss or athletic performance program, it is important to understand what is your very own basal metabolism and how it works.


Defining Basal Metabolism

The basal metabolism is the amount of energy that your body spends at rest so that all your cells can do their work, all cells, i.e. the skin as well as brain, heart, liver, bones, muscles, kidneys, etc.

This amount of energy is measured in calories. So, if you are told that you have a basal metabolism of 1500 calories this means that without doing anything, sitting all day, your body will spend 1500 calories for your body cells to complete their work.

However, we must not stick to this simple observation, at this strict number of calories, we must understand what it truly represents: it represents the distribution of your energy reserves. The energy you produce comes from the food you eat, it comes from the proteins, carbohydrates and lipids that your body absorbs. The question now is where this chemical energy contained in your food will be directed.

It can be directed to a storage area and converted into fat or it can also be directed to the liver for a greater energy production or even to your muscles for a greater production of muscular mass. Knowing the value of your basal metabolism is good, knowing how energy is distributed is even better and implies an analysis of your basal metabolism. There are several factors that cause your body to direct energy reserves to the storage area and therefore make you gain weight by increasing your body fat mass. If you eat too many calories or if you eat too few calories or if your lipids / carbohydrates / protein distribution is not suited to your metabolism you are exposed to an increase in body weight.

For example, if your body prefers to use lipids and you consume too many carbohydrates, you will produce a surplus of insulin that will lead to storing fat. It is therefore important to find the right balance for you, so that your body does not direct the energy towards the storage area but much more towards the liver and musculature. Balance in your lifestyle depends on different factors: obviously your nutrition and good protein / carbohydrate / fat distribution, but also adequate sleep, a controlled level of stress (if you are facing a high level of stress daily, it will be very difficult to lose weight), an adequate general level of energy (do not spend more than what the body can manage). These various environmental, behavioral, physiological and metabolic factors will lead your organism to direct your energy reserves either towards the liver and musculature or, in cases of a lack of balance, to the storage area.

How is Basal Metabolism measured?

There are three ways to do this:

  1. We use formulas, scientifically developed equations that take into account age, weight, and height. We then obtain an estimate of the basal metabolism of an individual but there is always a margin of error.
  2. The second method is to take into account your lean mass. Your lean body mass is the sum of the mass of your muscles, bones and viscera, so everything that does not contain fat in your body. This will primarily determine your basal metabolism. If you have a body composition scale you can know your fat percentage and then estimate your lean mass and do the calculation of your basic metabolism.
  3. The third way to measure your basal metabolism by using a respiratory gas analyzer. This is the most accurate way. The respiratory gases are the oxygen you are going to consume and the CO2 you are going to expire. We are able to evaluate the basal metabolism this way as breathing is the reflection of your cellular activity. Indeed, to produce energy, you must consume oxygen and for every liter of oxygen consumed you are spending 5 calories. Macronutrients, i.e. proteins, lipids and carbohydrates, are degraded by your cells and releasing chemical energy, they also release a known quantity of CO2 and different from each other. Also, when the relationship between consumed oxygen and exhaled CO2 is established, it is possible to determine precisely how much calories are spent at rest and also what type of fuel your body prefers. You can tell whether your body, as about 70% of the population, uses the lipids, proteins and carbohydrates in mixed sources or if your body has a very efficient metabolism and runs on lipids or if it prefers carbohydrates which unfortunately indicates that you store much more fat.

With cloudbody we suggest that you determine as accurately as possible your basal metabolism based on the combination of several data and the analysis and interpretation of thousands of metabolic tests performed over the past 20 years.

By learning how your metabolism works, you find what is the best breakdown for you in terms of protein, fat and carbohydrate intake that will enable you to achieve your weight loss goals. If you practice a sport, or are following a high performance program, you will be in a better position to achieve your goals.


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