Metabolic Flexibility: Everything You Must Know
October 21, 2022
October 21, 2022
Being flexible also boosts your body’s metabolism. A flexible metabolism may easily switch between using carbs or fat for energy as opposed to merely being able to use one or the other. The capacity to use various fuel sources for energy is metabolic flexibility. It can enhance your overall health and wellness due to several reasons. Unfortunately, a contemporary diet and metabolic diseases like insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes are only a few factors that primarily disturb metabolic flexibility and may even cause it.
There are a lot of connections between glucose, metabolic flexibility, and metabolic health. High glucose levels can occur without having diabetes, and they can also lead to metabolic dysfunction.
Having metabolic inflexibility raises glucose levels and prevents the body from changing its fuel source. You need to keep an eye on your blood glucose levels to gain a clear picture of your metabolic flexibility. Unless you actively monitor your blood sugar levels, it can be challenging to understand what is happening with them. You cannot physically see the type of foods that cause an increase in your blood glucose and stress on the cells. One can analyse their blood glucose levels during the active and restive periods with the aid of technology-enabled wearables like the BIOS from HealthifyPro. It is a preventative approach that enables you to develop an empirical, information-driven association between food and blood glucose levels.
It lets you see how your lifestyle choices and dietary intake affect your blood sugar levels. With this information, one can make easy yet impactful adjustments to optimise metabolic health. You can also try different foods to develop a nutrition strategy tailored to the particular body’s reactions. Monitoring your blood sugar provides statistical information that clarifies how lifestyle changes affect your body.
All the chemical reactions in your body to convert food and liquids into energy are called metabolism. Your metabolism includes every chemical process that takes place within your body.
You can divide these chemical reactions into two groups:
Building and storage occur during anabolism. An example of anabolism is when your body utilises the food you eat to grow organs, bones, or muscles. Small molecules are used in anabolism to create bigger molecules, such as carbohydrates, lipids, or proteins. Your body uses these bigger molecules to preserve bodily tissues, produce new cells, or store energy. Energy is also required for these anabolic activities to take place.
The reverse, catabolism, involves the destruction of tissues and energy reserves. Catabolic processes break down fat or carbohydrate cells to provide energy.
Every minute of every day, your body processes food. It is vital to your body’s capacity for survival. However, it might not be operating as well as it should. That is because your body merely uses calories at rest to survive, and the process is known as your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Various variables can influence BMR, such as gender, age, hormones, genetics, body size and weight, body composition (ratio of fat to muscle), diet, hydration, physical activity, and medication. Your metabolism’s effectiveness has an impact on your flexibility and general wellness. Healthy lifestyle decisions aid effective metabolic processes in diet, sleep hygiene, stress reduction, and physical activity. You must work to become metabolically fit, just as you must work to become physically fit. Making the appropriate decisions helps the body become more metabolically flexible and increases metabolism efficiency.
You cannot standardise metabolic health in any way. It is typically the lack of metabolic syndrome. However, an increasing number of adults globally have metabolic syndrome.
Five conditions cause metabolic syndrome:
You have metabolic syndrome if you experience the presence of three or more of these risk factors. However, the likelihood of having heart disease, diabetes, and stroke significantly increases if all five are present. Therefore, physical inactivity, being overweight, becoming older, and genetics are the key risk factors for metabolic syndrome (having an abnormal metabolism).
Metabolic flexibility, as the name indicates, refers to your body’s ability to utilise any available fuel for energy, whether fuel stored in your body or fuel obtained through meals. For example, if you recently had a meal or a snack, your body will digest the food and use it to create energy. However, if it has been some time since your last meal, your metabolism may switch to burning the stored sugar and fat in your body. Scientists refer to these fuel-burning procedures as “fat oxidation” and “glucose oxidation.”
Before the industrial revolution, humans were metabolically adaptable when no restaurants or food shops existed. On some days, there was more than enough food for everyone, but on others, there wasn’t. As a result, people with flexible metabolisms might go days without eating and yet feel great. In specific ways, this is also true in today’s world, such as when we exercise vigorously or consume a lot of calories during the day. In these circumstances, our bodies must adjust and use the appropriate quantity of fuel.
Metabolic flexibility is the ability to use different fuel sources as energy to function normally. It is beneficial in several ways as it enables your body to use carbs, fats, sugar etc., depending on their storage. In addition, flexible metabolism allows you to savour various meals at different times without limiting yourself to a particular diet. First, it is essential to understand the impact of foods on your glucose to utilise energy sources to the optimum.
Not feeling full or the constant hunger results from your body’s inability to utilise fat reserves between your meals. It explains why those with rigid metabolisms frequently graze.
Other immediate signs of metabolic rigidity include:
Insulin resistance is the most acceptable illustration of decreased metabolic flexibility. Remember that not having a flexible metabolism might result in higher glucose levels. Long-term maintenance of these high glucose levels requires your pancreas to generate more insulin to control the rise.
According to research, your pancreas’ insulin-producing cells become overworked and unresponsive. As a result, your cells gradually cease eliminating the extra glucose from your blood and begin to ignore the constant insulin signal. Long-term health issues may result from this insulin resistance.
With increased metabolic flexibility, you do not require micromanaging your macronutrients and calories. As per studies, this happens because your metabolism becomes more adaptable. Your body can maintain optimal glucose levels thanks to metabolic flexibility, which frees it from having to be perfect constantly.
Your body can sometimes (not always) handle eating a meal heavy in fat and carbs. Resetting your satiety signals will prevent you from feeling the constant desire to snack. As a result, your natural energy levels will rise as well. Glucose and metabolic flexibility are inextricably linked. Because of this, metabolic flexibility requires an awareness of how your body reacts to glucose.
Your glucose levels may increase more than usual and stay higher than they should if your metabolism is not flexible. Optimal glucose levels require flexible metabolism, which is vital. Because of metabolic flexibility, you can effectively utilise energy rather than storing it inefficiently.
The benefits of metabolic flexibility are comparable to those of intermittent fasting and keto: sustained energy, fewer spikes and dips in blood sugar, reduced cravings and increased fat-burning. In addition, your body doesn’t have to keep your food-seeking processes always “on” when you have a flexible metabolism. As an alternative, your body can use any available fuel, easily switching from one fuel source to another without you even being aware of it.
You may need to change what and when you consume to promote flexibility in your body’s fat and glucose metabolism. However, you don’t need to make radical changes overnight. As with any dietary adjustment, get the advice of a physician or nutritionist first. Be careful to include family members who have had diabetes, heart disease, or obesity (or pre-diabetic diagnosis). And remember that no single approach to health and well-being fits all people. Everybody’s body composition, body mass, weight, metabolic rate, and other physical characteristics vary. However, some of the ways are:
According to research, a low-carb, high-fat diet such as the ketogenic diet is one strategy to enhance metabolic flexibility and health. Your body begins to create ketones and burn fat when it enters a state of ketosis. As a result, your metabolism more easily burns food and body fat accumulated when you’re in this ketogenic condition.
The keto flu, which can make you feel exhausted, angry, hungry, or even have full-blown flu-like symptoms like headaches or body pains, might make keto challenging initially. However, keto will help you switch to using fat for fuel.
Because you alternate between days with reduced carbs and days with greater carbs, cyclical keto is an excellent approach to experiment with metabolic flexibility. Consuming more carbohydrates once a week is necessary for cyclical ketosis for two reasons: first, to preserve your capacity to digest them, and second, because your body requires them for some vital activities. Therefore, once in cyclical ketosis, you will experience a higher carb day (above 100g of carbohydrates) once weekly.
Intermittent fasting, which involves restricting eating for a time each day (typically 12–16 hours), is a helpful strategy for managing insulin resistance. Extended fasting is a common technique to develop metabolic flexibility. You can release an acceptable amount of toxins while burning enough fat as energy during intermittent fasting.
One of the quickest strategies to promote metabolic flexibility is intermittent fasting combined with cyclical ketosis. As a result, your body becomes accustomed to using the fuel that is accessible and won’t panic if one of the fuel options (glucose, glycogen, or fat) isn’t available.
One of the main factors causing metabolic rigidity is physical inactivity. Since it helps manage glucose levels, exercise is essential to prevent it. Exercise enhances insulin sensitivity, glycemic balance, and mitochondrial content. Increasing your body’s insulin sensitivity aids in maintaining normal glucose levels. Including various programs in your fitness regimen can also help your body develop more metabolic flexibility.
Cyclical ketosis can be an ideal substitute if you’re already considering switching or starting a new diet. A cyclical ketosis diet includes consuming the standard keto diet for most of the week and balancing it with intervals of carb consumption. A low-carb, high-fat diet is the base of the keto diet. Our body enters and exits the state of ketosis by adding some carbohydrates to the regular keto diet. Our body can use glucose and fat as fuel for energy which also increases your metabolism’s adaptability.
Chronic health issues like diabetes or cardiovascular disease may result from a lack of sleep. Sleep duration and quality are both crucial for metabolic health. Even a little insufficient sleep can cause insulin resistance in any healthy individual. So enhancing your sleep hygiene is essential to increasing your metabolic flexibility.
Our bodies produce hormones like cortisol and adrenaline in response to stress. Our bodies secrete glucose during a “fight or flight” situation to give us the additional energy needed to handle the circumstance. The body constantly accumulates extra glucose as a result of ongoing stress. The accumulated glucose can result in chronic diseases like diabetes. Taking measures to improve sleep quality and minimise stress lowers excess glucose levels, positively impacting metabolic flexibility.
Metabolic flexibility proves that diets aren’t one-size-fits-all, and there are benefits to phasing between different eating styles to support your overall health. But, as always, incorporate the pillars of a healthy lifestyle, such as exercise training and physical activity, eating nutrient-rich whole foods, drinking water and managing stress.