How we derive energy from food.
Food = energy. Calories come from food. Therefore, calories = energy.
Energy is what keeps your body functioning. The majority of our energy comes from fats and carbohydrates. Food it is broken down and absorbed by your digestive system into a usable form of energy called glucose. Glucose is a sugar.
The body then takes this sugar through a process that uses the energy stored in the sugar and transfers it into a molecule called adenosine-tri-phosphate (ATP).
ATP is used by the muscles of your body, your heart, lungs, stomach and the rest of your body to maintain your life.
Food is energy that becomes ATP which maintains your life.
What we do with energy
The amount of energy your body uses to keep running that is, digesting food, breathing in and out, sending blood to the body, returning blood back to the heart, and a myriad of other activities = your metabolism.
A fast metabolism = high amount of energy used = a high amount of calories burned.
Exercise increases how much energy your body needs. As you continue to exercise over time the overall energy the body needs increases, which increases metabolism!
A faster metabolism burns more energy throughout your day. Which means that while you are sitting, reading, writing, thinking, standing, etc… your body is working, churning and burning away energy to maintain your life.
Metabolism is going on all the time. Metabolism represents the idle speed of your engine. The higher this speed the more energy you need and the more calories you burn.
What is fat?
Fats are oils like, olive oil or canola oil, etc…. Fats are butters and margarines.
Fat is a rich source of energy!
The breakdown of fat releases a large amount of energy.
Say you ate a stick of butter. Your digestive system has to work to break all that fat down and release it into the blood steam to be delivered to the cells of your body.
Imagine an aggressive freight train traveling through your bloodstream at high speeds. Its one goal is to be used. It is looking for work to do. Work is the functioning of your body.
But let’s say that you have a slow metabolism and not much work for all this energy. There is too much energy and not enough work. Eventually the body will need to put it someplace else. So it will store it.
Excess energy will first be stored in the liver and the muscles of the body however; the amount of energy that can be stored in these areas is limited. So the body looks to store the rest of the energy elsewhere. Can you guess where it ends up? That’s right, as fat on your body.
So right now look at the fat on your body.
Understand this is stored energy that is waiting to be used.
The goal is to get your body to use this energy!
There are processes in the body that takes the energy found in food and through chemical reactions it transfers this energy into ATP. ATP is the gasoline of the body – to be used whenever energy is needed (millions of times per second).
The digestive end product of carbohydrate is glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar. That means that it is easily converted to energy.
If you took a bowl of white table sugar and ate it, it would enter your blood stream and be quickly taken in by the cells of the body. This is the “sugar rush”.
Basically, what you are doing is dumping a large amount of energy into your bloodstream and just as quickly it is removed from the bloodstream by the cells. You feel a rush of energy as it hits your blood and once it is used up and there is nothing left in your blood and you feel drained.
The goal is to maintain consistent amounts of glucose/energy in the bloodstream at all times. This is why smaller meals throughout the day can be a good idea (based upon your individual metabolism and lifestyle.)
Now more complex carbohydrates like pastas, grains, multi-grain breads are composed of many glucose molecules put together so it’s called complex.
These take longer to be broken down into the body and therefore their energy is released slower into the body over a longer period of time. So there is less of an energy rush.
Further, if you combine proteins, carbohydrates and fats in one meal it takes longer for this energy to be digested and it is released into the bloodstream over time. This provides a consistent source of energy. No major swings up and down which causes energetic rushes and crashes.
Understanding how your body functions goes a long way to indentifying and addressing your needs based upon your goals.