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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

Metabolism works by converting one form of energy into another. Chemical energy from food, for example, can be converted to mechanical energy to contract muscle. The body only traps about 25 percent of food energy as usable energy, and the rest is lost as heat. Body and muscle temperature is important because it affects the usable energy available for critical body functions. Useful energy decreases when body and muscle temperatures are too hot or too cold, resulting in fatigue during exercise and decreased metabolic control. Bodyweight control is closely linked to body temperature and heat generation during metabolism. A study led by Katrin Fischer from the Institute for Diabetes and Obesity in Munich, Germany showed that the sympathetic nervous center (“fight or flight” center) was central to heat control (thermogenesis) in fat cells and critical for weight control. Exercise and certain supplements such as caffeine, p-synephrine, capsaicin (from chili peppers) and other spices can trigger thermogenesis. (Nature Medicine, 23: 623-630, 2017)