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How Does A Metabolic Test Help In Losing Weight?

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Science&Humans

Medically approved by

Maria Jacob

Last updated

Thursday, January 18, 2024

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Many people inquire about the fastest way to lose weight, but it is crucial to prioritize methods that are safe, sustainable, and promote overall well-being. Finding the best way to lose weight often involves a personalized approach, considering factors such as individual preferences, lifestyle, and overall health. The aim is to provide you with an understanding of the metabolic test and its impact on weight loss. Metabolic testing is a precise way to assess an individual’s metabolic rate and energy expenditure. Metabolic tests examine an individual’s hormone level as well as their carbon dioxide and oxygen production. These tests can potentially reveal hormonal imbalances or assist individuals in achieving their weight-related objectives.

Introduction

Undergoing a weight loss transformation requires dedication, commitment, and a holistic approach that encompasses dietary changes, regular exercise, and sustainable lifestyle adjustments. Before we understand the metabolic test and its impact on weight loss, let us first understand the definition of metabolism and its correlation with body weight.

Metabolism is derived from the Greek word metabolē meaning ‘to change’ and comprises all chemical reactions taking place in the body. Metabolism is a group of chemical reactions through which food is converted into energy. These chemical reactions are of two types: catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism is a metabolic process of breaking down complex molecules like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins into simpler ones like glucose, fatty acids, and amino acids, which is accompanied by the release of energy. Anabolism is a metabolic process that involves the generation of complex molecules like proteins, glycogen, and fatty acids from simpler ones like amino acids, glucose, and glycerol and is accompanied by the utilization of energy (Judge and Dodd 2020). A healthy metabolism is a fundamental requirement for a healthy life, and its well-being hinges on one’s lifestyle choices, energy intake, and energy expenditure.

Metabolism and its Correlation with Body Weight

Weight gain often stems from a disruption in your body’s metabolism. This occurs when your food intake exceeds the number of calories your body naturally burns through its metabolic processes. The surplus energy from this excess food consumption is stored in the form of fat within your adipose tissues, contributing to an increase in body weight (Farhana and Rehman, 2023). Having a fast metabolism means that the body efficiently processes and burns calories, often leading to easier weight management for some individuals. While genetics play a role, lifestyle factors such as regular exercise and a balanced diet can contribute to promoting a fast metabolism. Understanding your metabolic rate through testing can personalize weight loss tips for more effective results.

The concept of basal metabolic rate (BMR) is important in defining a relationship between body mass and metabolic rate. The minimum caloric requirements to sustain basic metabolic functions like breathing, maintaining body temperature, and organ function during the resting phase are referred to as the BMR (Hulbert and Else, 2004). A higher BMR generally means your body burns more calories at rest, making it easier to maintain or lose weight. The resting metabolic rate (RMR; also called resting energy expenditure [REE]) is similar to BMR; however, it includes a range of activities like eating, walking short distances, basic neurological functions, etc. The RMR is influenced by the balance between the calories you eat and the energy your body expends. Consuming an excessive amount of energy seems to boost your RMR, whereas fasting or extreme low-calorie diets can lead to a decline in your RMR (Mole 1990). People with a fast metabolism may need to consume a higher amount of calories to meet their energy needs, making dietary choices a crucial aspect of supporting their metabolic rate. Scientifically designed weight loss programs often incorporate principles of energy balance and metabolic efficiency to optimize the effectiveness of the intervention and foster lasting results.

Both BMR and RMR are often used interchangeably; however, RMR is more practical for real-world applications in weight management, nutrition, and fitness planning.

Types of Metabolic Tests Helping in Losing Weight

Doctors often recommend metabolic testing to assess how the body processes nutrients and energy. Tailoring weight loss tips based on metabolic test results can lead to more effective and sustainable strategies for achieving fitness goals. Here are some of the most common metabolic tests used for weight management:

Prediction Equations.

  • Harris and Benedict equations (HBEs) : BMR can be calculated by HBEs; however, it can lead to an overestimation of 10% to 15% (Garrel et al., 1996). 
  • Mifflin-St. Jeor Equation (MSJE): To overcome the overestimation by HBEs, the MSJE can be used to accurately predict the RMR (Mifflin et al., 1990).

These equations in the form of a “metabolic rate calculator” are available online.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) Test

RMR reveals your fundamental daily calorie requirements to sustain your current weight while at rest. This knowledge serves as a foundational step in more precisely determining your daily calorie intake for weight loss.

  • Direct calorimetry: This method is considered the gold standard for measuring metabolic rate. This method gauges calorie expenditure by assessing your body’s heat production. The procedure usually involves spending approximately an hour in a specialized chamber while the equipment records data. The cost and advanced technology make it an exceedingly rare choice outside of research or laboratory environments (Kenny et al., 2017).

  • Indirect calorimetry: This is a simple and non-invasive test. Under controlled conditions, indirect calorimetry measures RMR, offering insights into resting metabolism through parameters like oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and the respiratory exchange ratio (RER = oxygen consumption/carbon dioxide production) (Cooper et al., 2009). Indirect calorimetry is recognized as a precise approach for assessing RMR (Volp et al., 2011). Recent advancements in technology enable precise and straightforward measurements of indirect calorimetry in both spontaneously breathing patients and those receiving mechanical ventilation (Delsoglio et al., 2019).

Maximum Volume of Oxygen (VO2 max) Test

VO2 max represents the highest volume of oxygen an individual can intake, and this value remains consistent even as the workload is gradually elevated over a period of time (Karampreet et al., 2019). The VO2 max test is a reliable metric that gauges the extent of the cardiorespiratory system’s capacity to deliver oxygen from the air to the body’s tissues, considering a specific level of physical fitness and oxygen accessibility (Hawkins et al., 2007).

Lactate Threshold Test

This test involves several blood samples taken from the finger for the assessment of blood lactate. The blood lactate concentration increases during exercise (Beneke et al., 2011). The link between lactate threshold testing and weight loss is mostly mediated through indirect factors like improved fitness and training intensity. 

Other Blood Tests

Where Can You Get Tested?

Tests like RMR, VO2, and lactate threshold can be performed at medical facilities, sports centers, and wellness centers. A metabolic test conducted via blood testing can be a home-based metabolism test. 

Selecting a reliable and authorized center is crucial when thinking about metabolic testing. Understanding the metabolic profile requires correct measurements and interpretation, which require the experience of the medical practitioner or trained personnel. 

The best way to lose weight typically includes a combination of a well-balanced diet, regular physical activity, and sustainable lifestyle changes. Consultation with a healthcare professional or nutritionist can help individuals determine the best way to lose weight based on their specific needs and goals. Many people inquire about the fastest way to lose weight, but it is crucial to prioritize methods that are safe, sustainable, and promote overall well-being. While there may be trends claiming the fastest way to lose weight, a balanced approach incorporating healthy eating and regular exercise tends to yield more lasting results. Determining the best weight loss medication should involve consultation with a healthcare professional to consider individual health factors and potential side effects.

How Do Testosterone Hormones Affect Your Metabolism?

Testosterone hormone plays an important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates, fat, and protein and has proven its impact on body fat composition and maintaining muscle mass in males (Dandona et al., 2021). Testosterone levels are low in males with conditions like diabetes and obesity (Kapoor et al., 2007). Studies have shown that testosterone replacement treatment lowers body fat mass and improves conditions like diabetes as well as insulin resistance (Kelly and Jones 2013). 

Conclusion

Many individuals incorporate supplements to boost metabolism into their fitness routines, aiming to enhance their body's calorie-burning capacity. The market offers a variety of supplements to boost metabolism, ranging from natural extracts to specially formulated blends designed to support increased energy expenditure. Before adding supplements to boost metabolism to your regimen, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure they align with your overall health goals. A metabolic test can help individuals develop a more precise and personalized strategy for achieving their fitness goals. A metabolic test is valuable for weight loss because it assesses an individual’s metabolic rate. By understanding metabolic rate, one can tailor their calorie intake and exercise to meet weight loss goals more effectively. This personalized approach optimizes fat loss and muscle preservation. Metabolic tests also provide insights into hormone balance and guide sustainable weight management strategies. 

References

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  • Czech MP. Insulin action and resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes. Nat Med. 2017 Jul 11;23(7):804-81.

  • Dandona P, et al. Mechanisms underlying the metabolic actions of testosterone in humans: A narrative review. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2021 Jan;23(1):18-28.

  • Delsoglio, et al. Indirect Calorimetry in Clinical Practice. J Clin Med. 2019 Sep 5;8(9):1387.

  • Farhana A and Rehman A. Metabolic Consequences of Weight Reduction. [Updated 2023 Jul 10]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK572145/

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