What is Metabolic Testing?
Metabolic Testing measures how many calories someone is burning, and enables us to see if they are burning more or less than they should. When a person is underfed, it also measures how much lean mass (muscles, brain, organ tissue, etc.) is being used to fuel the body. In slightly more technical terms, metabolic testing measures an individual's metabolic rate by determining the Actual Resting Energy Expenditure (AREE), namely, the amount of calories burned while in resting state. It does this by measuring oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange, a process called indirect calorimetry. During the testing procedure, an individual reclines and breathes under a lightweight canopy hood for 20-30 minutes. Immediately after the procedure, the nutritionists analyzes the AREE alongside the PREE (predicted resting energy expenditure) to assess if the body is burning the amount of calories it should be (a normal metabolism), fewer calories than it should be ( hypometabolic), or more calories than it should be (hypermetabolic). In addition to this, metabolic testing also measures the amount of a person’s protein stores being used to help fuel the body. The body normally uses less than 15% of its own protein stores to fuel itself, but when the body uses more than this, it is breaking down its own lean tissue for energy. This is referred to as being catabolic, which means that it is breaking down its own lean cells (muscles, bones, organ tissue, brain), and using them as energy as a substitute for food. This is a very expensive fuel source!
What is Body Composition Analysis?
Body Composition Analysis measures the amount and proportion of fat and lean mass in a person's body. It also measures the body's cellular integrity. In slightly more technical terms, Body Composition Analysis measures lean mass, body fat, lean dry mass (muscle), total body water, intracellular water, extracellular water, and phase angle. BCA is a quick and non-invasive procedure. Electrodes are attached to a wrist and a foot and a small electrical current is sent through the body. By measuring the resistance and reactance to the current as it passes through the body, it can measure the proportion and amount of lean tissue and fat. The rate at which this current passes through the cells of the body is how BCA determines the integrity of a person's cells. The measurement of the body's total resistance and reactance (which is independent of a person's height, weight and body fat) is called the phase angle. A low phase angle indicates a breakdown of cell membrane. As the body is nutritionally restored, the cell membrane becomes more intact and the phase angle improves. This is quick, painless, harmless and extremely informative data!