Metabolism Equals Energy Expenditure What Is Metabolic Rate

The chemical reactions that take place in our cells release energy, and this energy is ultimately derived from the breakdown of energy nutrients namely carbohydrate, protein, fat and alcohol. Over the course of the day almost all of the energy released will be converted to heat and lost from the body. Metabolism refers to the sum of the energy (calories) generated in our body and lost as heat. To go a little further, metabolic rate is the amount of heat we produce within a specified period of time, such as over an hour or a day.

If energy expenditure is measured over an hour's time, it only estimates the expenditure during that hour and cannot be confidently extrapolated to longer periods of time. For instance, if energy expenditure is measured for 1 hour after lunch or during a morning exercise session, surely it would be greater than when you are sleeping. On the contrary, if energy expenditure is expressed over a period of a day, it will not indicate periods within the day when the metabolic rate was higher, such as in more active times of the day, or lower, as in less active times of the day or when sleeping (see Figure 8.5).

Metabolism is the sum of all chemical reactions in the body and is assessed as heat release or oxygen use.

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