How do people describe you? Enthusiastic, lively, fun to be around… All of these descriptions mean the same thing: Your spirit is full of energy! We all love being around ‘energetic’ people because when they radiate energy, it’s contagious. Your spirit being full of energy reflects in your behavior, for your body it reflects in your movement, and for your mind it reflects in your alertness. Energy is constantly flowing through your body to empower you. But where does it come from? Do foods and nutrition supplements supply it differently? And how is it used by us? Let’s talk about the natural combustion engine inside you!
What is energy?
From a purely scientific perspective, energy is defined as the ability to do work, where work is calculated using force and displacement. In other simpler definitions of work, you’ll find it defined as “a transfer of energy.” In regular conversation energy is just regarded as how tired you feel. Energy comes in many forms, chemical energy in foods, thermal energy in heat, kinetic energy of a moving object, and even potential energy that an object gathers as it goes higher and higher. Chemical energy is defined as the energy stored in the bonds of the compound, and these bonds cannot be broken by chewing, they are broken during digestion. After these bonds are broken, the nutrients are absorbed and energy is obtained! Think about when you scale a mountain, you’re actually increasing your potential energy. Potential energy is calculated using gravitational force, mass, and the height of the object. The higher you rise the harder you fall, thanks to your potential energy!
Let’s shift our focus to what energy means to our bodies…
We all know our food gives us energy, but how exactly does a portion of rice and chicken get converted into walking around? Our food is measured in calories, a unit of energy, where 1 kilocalorie (kcal) is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of a kilogram of water from 0 degrees to 1 degree Celsius. Now it is established that we are human beings and not water heaters, so how exactly does this make sense? Rather than looking at the literal definition, let’s measure your calories with respect to the functioning of your body.
Your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the rate at which your body uses food energy to sustain life and do different activities. Around 75% of the calories burned in a day go into basic human functions such as your heart pumping or your intestines passing food through them, and about 25% is used to maintain electrical potentials in all your living cells. Your BMR is a function of age, gender, total body weight, and muscle mass. The last factor is important because muscle mass burns more calories than body fat, which is why athletes have a higher BMR. Athletes are always focused on increasing their lean muscle mass, which is aided greatly by whey protein and plant protein. We hear the term “burning calories” often, which refers to the expulsion of energy, but do we really ‘burn’ calories?
The human body's internal combustion engine
Burning calories is synonymous with fitness and is an important part of managing weight. Our bodies can’t just interchange mass and energy, so what does burning calories do? When you burn calories, fat molecules are broken into smaller molecules after which their bonds are broken to release chemical potential energy, which we convert to heat and work. Just like a car engine converts chemical potential energy to exhaust heat and useful work, you do too.
Fun fact: Your body operates at about 25% efficiency when it comes to converting food energy into mechanical output, which is better than the 20% efficiency most cars have.
Carbohydrates, protein, and fat are all responsible for energy, and these macronutrients get converted into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Since ATP is the primary source of energy for everybody function, other stored energy is used to replenish ATP. There are only small amounts of ATP in the body so it is necessary to have sufficient energy stores for backup. This is how fat could accumulate in your body, which is unfavorable. Even if you are taking the best protein powder for weight loss, it can’t burn calories you don’t use up. Imagine if you filled your car with fuel and you had exactly a day to finish the tank, otherwise the fuel gets filled in a part of your car which is difficult to drain and just makes it heavier, making it slower and less efficient. You need to remember that the quality of the fuel also matters, some burn faster and some are just destined to end up making your car heavier.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT FUEL
Let’s take a look at some healthy foods and why they provide you with instant energy. You may be thinking of energy drinks or pre workout supplements, but do you know how they power you? While carbohydrates are indeed your body’s primary fuel source, the right micronutrients can also power you up. Instant energy will make you think of foods like bananas, coffee, or apples, but what is the driving force behind them becoming your driving force?
- Iron: Iron deficiency is one of the leading causes of chronic fatigue, so leafy greens like spinach and kale will provide you with a steady supply of iron along with vitamin C which helps your body absorb the iron.
- Leucine: An amino acid that stimulates the production of energy in cells, which is present in foods like lentils and eggs. Protein supplements tend to be high in amino acids.
- Fiber: This nutrient slows the digestion of the sugar, making your body utilize the energy from the sugars for longer. It’s found in bananas, which also contain potassium and vitamin B6 which help maintain proper muscle function and give you sustainable energy. Fibre also helps you keep full for longer, so you won’t be snacking on foods that will inevitably be stored as fat in your body.
- Complex carbohydrates: Commonly found in foods such as peas, beans, whole grains, and vegetables, they are made up of sugar molecules that are strung together in long, complex chains. These digest slowly and give you longer-lasting energy.
- Omega-3 and Omega-6: These fatty acids antioxidants increase energy levels and also help in inflammation protection. They are commonly found in fish and eggs. You should pay attention to the profiles of the fatty acids you’re consuming because Terra Origin 100% Grass fed Whey Protein only contains healthy profiles that help reduce body fat.
Now that you know the nutrients you need to consume, the only thing you need to do is make sure you’re consuming enough of them. Before you look at us with bewilderment and ask how, let us give you the answer.
POWER YOUR BODY WITH THE GOODNESS OF NATURE WITH TERRA ORIGIN
Terra Origin’s 100% Grass fed Whey Protein, Organic Plant Protein, and Greens Superfoods provide you with an array of nutrients from organic sources to help your body absorb essential nutrients easily. You’ll find micronutrients like iron and fiber in Greens Superfoods, and you can get Leucine and Omega-3 and Omega-6 from Whey Protein or Plant Protein. Not only do our products provide you with macronutrients to help build on the outside, but they also provide you with the basic units you need to do anything, energy. Now that you have an even more comprehensive understanding of what fuels your body, make sure you’re giving it the right fuel through all-natural nutrition with Terra Origin!