BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. To understand what it means, let us first understand what exactly is Metabolism. Metabolism is a sum total of all chemical processes that happen in every cell of the human body, to help it sustain life.
Maintain your weight by consuming calories per day
What is BMR?
BMR stands for Basal Metabolic Rate. To understand what it means, let us first understand what exactly is Metabolism. Metabolism is a sum total of all chemical processes that happen in every cell of the human body, to help it sustain life. The body digests the food it gets, to break it down into nutrition in the form of carbohydrates, amino acids, and simple sugars.
When these nutritive compounds enter the cells, enzymes work to boost or regulate them. The energy which is produced in this process is either used to build up energy stores or new tissues, or, to break down the existent tissues and energy stores to help carry out bodily functions with ease.
The process by which food is converted into energy is known as metabolism, and the speed with which this process occurs is termed as metabolic rate.
Metabolic rate is measured via two parameters viz. Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) and Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). Both these indicators measure the amount of energy – in terms of number of calories - which a body requires to sustain and carry out its daily functions. While RMR indicates the quantum of energy which your body needs while you’re resting, the BMR is a more wholesome indicator that measures the quantum of energy a body needs to keep carrying out its vital functions such as breathing, digesting food, growing nails, and circulating blood through the body.
How to measure BMR?
A person’s BMR is calculated using the Mifflin-St Jeor equation or the Revised Harris-Benedict equation.
Both of these use the parameters of age, weight, and height to arrive at the results. The Mifflin-St Jeor equation calculates:
BMR for men as 9.99 x weight + 6.25 x height – 4.92 x age + 5
BMR for women as 9.99 x weight + 6.25 x height – 4.92 x age – 161
The Revised Harris-Benedict equation calculates the BMR for men as (88.4 + 13.4 x weight) + (4.8 x height) – (5.68 x age), and for women as (447.6 + 9.25 x weight) + (3.10 x height) – (4.33 x age). Both these calculations are best done by trained practitioners to help get accurate results.
Connection between Metabolism and Weight Loss
We often hear nutrition experts speaking of calibrating the calories in one’s food intake, in order to regulate your weight to correct proportions. That is because, calories are the unit used to measure how much energy does every food item provide to the body.
Now, while consuming the right amount of calories is important to maintain an optimum body weight, it is not enough. The consumption has to be supported by ‘burning’ of those calories via exercise and a good BMR.
If you have a low BMR, that means you burn less calories for your vital functions and daily life. This, is turn, leads to the body accumulating more body fat as compared to a person with high BMR, who uses more calories for those same functions.
BMR plays an important role in your weight-calibration journey because almost 60-70% of the calories we consume are burned by the body to create energy for its vital and daily processes.
Can we change our BMR?
While it’s true that our genetic predisposition determines our BMR, there are also other factors which can enhance or slow it down.
The level of physical activity, exercise, developing lean muscle tissue, and proper sleep habits (which helps the body regulate glucose levels, thus providing more energy) are some factors that enhance one’s BMR.
On the other hand, crash dieting, less physical activity owing to age, high amount of body fat (fat cells are slow to burn calories), and illness or infection are some factors that slow down the BMR.
Hence, keeping oneself active, healthy, and getting a good undisturbed sleep is the key to living a healthy life by enhancing one’s BMR.