Metabolic health: What it is, and why it matters

Updated: Jul 26



Recent studies show that most people in North America aren’t as metabolically healthy as they should be. But what does this mean?


Metabolism is fundamental to everything the body does—how we produce energy, build new tissue, break down and revitalize old tissue, eliminate waste, and grow cells. Metabolic health is the ability of our metabolism to do its job without disruptions that impede its essential role.


Metabolic health is determined by these factors:

  1. Blood glucose

  2. Triglycerides

  3. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol

  4. Blood pressure

  5. Waist circumference


To be metabolically healthy, we need to have healthy levels of all five of those factors without medication.


In many ways, metabolic health is a forecast of our future, which is why it’s an important part of Unicity’s mission to Make Life Better. Better health means a better life, and metabolic health helps provide a strong foundation for a good life.


Insulin’s role in metabolic health


All factors for poor metabolic health are connected to our body’s sensitivity to insulin. While insulin may often be cast as the villain in our health, it is a hero as long as you work to ensure it works for your benefit. Having normal, stable blood sugar levels helps ensure a healthier future.


While those who have healthy blood sugar levels often have healthier weights, metabolic health is not a weight problem; it is a metabolism problem. Just because you are not overweight doesn’t mean that your metabolism, and blood sugar, is where it should be.


Making metabolic health our focus


Metabolic health has become a focus of Unicity’s science and products because we’ve recognized how important metabolic health is to the modern lifestyle.


According to a recent study, just 1 in 8 Americans (12%) is metabolically healthy. As a whole, we eat more calories, more frequently. And thanks to office jobs and doing more work from home, we move less, too.


But our modern lifestyles haven’t doomed our chances for a long, healthy life. We can help our metabolic health by making small, calculated changes. These adjustments can positively affect our physical health and help us to feel better and perform at higher levels.


Make your metabolism work for you


Ready to get started? Follow the tips below to support your metabolic health.


  • Exercise regularly—It is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Regular exercise helps to support normal, healthy insulin levels and supports your metabolic health.

  • Manage occasional stress—Occasional stress can affect your metabolic health. If you experience occasional stress in your daily life, try countering it with exercise, meditation, or by laughing more. All of these activities have been shown to decrease occasional stress.

  • Stay hydrated—Research shows that drinking water increases your metabolic rate by as much as 30%, helping to keep your metabolism active and healthy. Drinking more water usually means you’re drinking less of the sugary drinks too, which is a big plus.

  • Space out your meals—When we are constantly snacking on carbohydrates, our bodies must work overtime producing insulin to keep our blood sugar stable. When we go for extended periods without eating, we allow our body to draw energy from stored fat, helping to keep our blood sugar more balanced.

  • Eat more vegetables and whole grains—They’re chock full of nutrients we need and they don’t cause blood sugar to spike like carbs and sugar do.

  • Get better sleep—Good quality sleep is more than a luxury; it’s a necessity. It impacts our ability to recover from the day, and it affects our concentration, memory, energy levels, mood, and overall health.


Better health for your future


With so many around us facing challenges with metabolic health, it may be tempting to just accept that that’s the way things are. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Small changes really do make a big difference, and it’s never too late to adopt new habits that work toward a healthier future.



References:


Rhee, Eun-Jung et al. “Metabolic health is a more important determinant for diabetes development than simple obesity: a 4-year retrospective longitudinal study.” PloS one vol. 9,5 e98369. 28 May. 2014, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098369


Anton SD, Moehl K, Donahoo WT, et al. Flipping the metabolic switch: understanding

and applying the health benefits of fasting. Obesity (Silver Spring) 2018; 26: 254-68.


Michael Boschmann, Jochen Steiniger, Uta Hille, Jens Tank, Frauke Adams, Arya M. Sharma, Susanne Klaus, Friedrich C. Luft, Jens Jordan, Water-Induced Thermogenesis, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 88, Issue 12, 1 December 2003, Pages 6015–6019, https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2003-030780


hyfault, J.P., Bergouignan, A. Exercise and metabolic health: beyond skeletal muscle.Diabetologia 63, 1464–1474 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05177-6


Ryan KK. Stress and Metabolic Disease. In: Committee on Population; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council; Weinstein M, Lane MA, editors. Sociality, Hierarchy, Health: Comparative Biodemography: A Collection of Papers. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2014 Sep 22. 11. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK242443


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