What is metabolism? It is the complex physical and chemical processes that occur in living cells necessary for maintaining life. This process breaks substances down to yield energy vital for life. Enzymes play a vital role in the syntheses that occur during metabolism. Enzymes break down polymeric macromolecules into smaller building blocks allowing the body to absorb them for energy. Most of us learned the Kreb cycle at some point in a biology class, and the impression we get is a very linear process. Metabolism is not that simple.
“For an enzyme to be functional, it must fold into a precise three dimensional shape. How such a complex folding can take place remains a mystery. A small chain of 150 amino acids making up an enzyme has an extraordinary number of possible folding configurations: when tested there are 1,012 different configurations every second, it would take about 1,026 years to find the right one. Yet, a denatured enzyme can refold within fractions of a second and then precisely react in a chemical reaction. It demonstrates a stunning complexity and harmony in the universe.”
- From R.L. Lewis, The Unity of the Sciences: Do Proteins Teleport in an RNA World?
This quote is telling the story of a very small molecule in the whole process of metabolism. It speaks to the indescribable complexity of metabolism which has been labeled by scientists as “infinitely networked”.
Now try to google "an expanded chart mapping glucose metabolism / metabolic pathways" and see the dizzying, non-linear map of glucose metabolism. It will give you a headache just looking at it.
What is my point???
It is not my point to say it is fruitless to research and study. But, it is my point to say it is pointless to count calories. It is not fun. It is not a sustainable habit. It is not where one’s time and energy should be focused when it comes to nutrition.
What do we know? We know that real, whole food works. We don’t know the intricacies of how it works, but we know it does work.
Not only is metabolism too complicated to understand but each person has a metabolism that is as unique as one’s finger print.
More than anything eat lots of green veggies. Eat lots of all the other colors of veggies. Eat fruit. Eat nuts, seeds, and beans. Eat some whole grains and potatoes. Eat a little bit of animal products but not every day and not too much. Make this your lifestyle. Don’t sweat special occasions - indulge and enjoy those times.
Real food is self-correcting. Trust it. Man’s years on the planet and our bodies’ design are in a special unity and synergy with real, whole plant foods that sustain the vitality of life and prevent disease.