Metabolic Health

Metabolic Health 101


Understanding the global epidemic of metabolic syndrome,
its association with chronic diseases (like Diabetes, Heart disease, PCOS, Obesity, Fatty liver disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease) and approach to overcome that.

Metabolism has become a buzz word today, that’s thrown around in fitness circles, health discussions and cycling groups. While we are familiar, at a high level, with metabolism and the role it plays in our life, we are quite the stranger to one of the most important health epidemics occurring globally from this phenomenon of poor metabolic health condition.

What is metabolism?

In a most basic form, metabolism is a bunch of cellular processes that help us generate energy to support all functions of our bodies. How we convert our food into energy is a major part of these processes.

What is metabolic health?

If our metabolism is good i.e., our body’s system of producing and managing energy is good, then we have a good metabolic health. As energy is so basic that all the cells in our body use that to function well, metabolic health is the foundation of our overall health.

5 parameters that define our metabolic health condition?

Many times, our doctors recommend various blood tests and most of us are familiar with some important parameters of our blood test reports. Following 5 parameters define our overall metabolic health condition:

  • Blood Sugar levels
  • Triglycerides
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol,
  • Blood Pressure
  • Waist Circumference

If we have all of above in a healthy range without medication then we have a good metabolic health.

Why is it an epidemic?

Effects of such metabolic dysfunction are detrimental because it increases the risk of most chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, tumours, infertility etc.

It’s one of the most staggering epidemics occurring now, as such a condition is prevalent amongst around 25% of global adult population

Is it normal to have such condition as we age or grow older?

No, it’s not normal. Most of us are tuned to think that such conditions are normal as we age. We think that way, because these conditions occur relatively more in the population above 35 to 40 years of age. But that’s not normal or natural to develop such diseases due as we age.

Actually, it’s quite the opposite, we age faster or become old faster if we develop metabolic dysfunction in our bodies.

What causes metabolic dysfunction in our bodies?

Glucose plays the central role in our metabolic functions. This is what happens in our body when we eat anything:

All the ultra-processed foods that we eat today are high in carbohydrates from refined grains and various forms of sugar. Having such foods in a high quantity and at a high frequency lead to frequent blood sugar spikes in the body.

Then, processing too much of glucose over a long period of time disturbs the metabolism processes and causes a condition called insulin resistance. As it so happens, our bodies should be sensitive to insulin (hormone that regulates blood sugar levels), and not the other way round.

Why it’s important to improve metabolic health?

As it’s the foundation of our overall health, it’s important to improve that. At a high level it helps in many ways such as sustained energy throughout the day, fat-burning capability of our body, stable mood, improved fertility, better functioning immune system and most importantly lower risks of chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, heart disease, stroke, and more.

How can we improve our metabolic health?

Regulating our blood glucose level is vital to keep our metabolic function in check.

Most important factor that affects blood glucose levels is our food. What we eat is broken down into glucose by our cells. Hence, to regulate glucose, we must pay close attention and consideration to what we put in our bodies. Adopting a lifestyle change to plan your food and choose wisely – especially lower carbohydrates, less or no sugar, avoiding food that contains refined grains.

Other important lifestyle changes that help in improving metabolic health are – exercise, quality sleep and psychological stress.