On nearly a daily basis we read about a new diet or exercise trend that can speed up your metabolism, or we are warned against a certain food that can slow it down.

According Medical News Today , metabolism is a term that is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism and is closely linked to nutrition. There are two main types metabolism: anabolism, which is the building up of things, and catabolism, which is the breakdown of things.

In anabolism, the body uses simple molecules to make more complex ones, such as how we use nutrients from our food to mineralize bone or increase muscle mass. During catabolic chemical reactions bigger molecules are broken down, such as when our body breaks down organic nutrients during digestion. In summary, the two work together to keep our body in peak shape and catabolism creates the energy that anabolism consumes for synthesizing hormones, enzymes, sugars and other substances for cell growth, reproduction, and tissue repair.

Basal metabolic rate refers to how fast your body breaks down your food. It is this rate that determines how fast or slow your overall metabolism is and, ultimately, how your body weight is affected, Early To Rise reported. Your personal basal metabolic rate determines how many calories your individual body needs to perform basic functions, and this number varies from person to person.

Individuals with a slow metabolism break down food slower than average , and as a result may find it easier to gain weight and more difficult to lose weight than the average individual. On the other hand, individuals with a fast metabolism break down food faster than normal and as a result may find it more difficult than others to gain weight despite increased calorie intake. Although having a fast is often depicted as an enviable trait, there are also many disadvantages to this. For example, individuals with fast metabolisms may find it just as difficult to maintain a healthy weight as someone with a slow metabolism does.

We are born with our overall metabolism rate, based on a number of factors such as genetics and our overall body type. However, eating healthy food and getting enough exercise can help stabilize metabolisms that are too far over on either side of the spectrum, Bustle reported.

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