Metabolic Efficiency and UCP1

Tuesday, July 16, 2019. Author FitnessGenes

Metabolic Efficiency and UCP1

This trait looks at “metabolic efficiency” – a measure of how effectively your body converts chemical energy from food into chemical energy that can be used by cells for all the processes key to survival

People described as having a “fast metabolism” actually have an “inefficient metabolism” – they ‘waste’ more chemical energy from food (or calories) as heat energy

By contrast, people with a “slow metabolism” have a more “efficient metabolism” and convert a lower proportion of chemical energy into heat energy. The downside of an efficient metabolism is that excess energy from food is less likely to be wasted as heat energy, but more likely to be stored as fat, leading to weight gain. 

Thermogenesis, the process by which our bodies generate heat energy, therefore plays an important role in our overall energy balance and risk of weight gain. It also plays a role in keeping us warm and the genes underlying non-shivering thermogenesis, such as UCP1, likely gave our ancestors a survival advantage in cold environments. 

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