The Impact on Metabolism and Energy Levels

Metabolism refers to the chemical processes that occur in the body to sustain life, including the breakdown of food and the production of energy. Energy balance refers to the balance between the energy that is consumed in the form of food and the energy that is expended through physical activity and other processes. The foods we eat obviously play a critical role in regulating metabolism and energy balance. The types of foods that are consumed, as well as the quantity and timing of food intake, can all have a significant impact on metabolism and energy balance. Excess unhealthy fat, high-carbohydrate diets have been shown to have a negative impact on metabolism and energy balance, while low-carbohydrate diets have been shown to have a positive impact.

A Healthy Metabolism

The anti-inflammatory diet is highly regarded for its potential to support a healthy metabolism through a variety of mechanisms. Primarily, its low content of refined carbohydrates and high fiber content can enhance insulin sensitivity, a key factor for blood glucose regulation. The diet can boost satiety and curb cravings for high-calorie, unhealthy foods. Such a dietary shift aids in sustaining a balanced energy consumption and contributes to the development of lean muscle mass, which is vital for a healthy metabolism and efficient calorie-burning. 

Energy Production

The diet supports the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy source of the body, by providing nutrient-dense, whole foods that are easily digestible and metabolizable by the body. The high protein content of the diet provides the building blocks for cellular energy production, while the healthy fats and low carbohydrate intake support optimal insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization. The presence of healthy fats in the diet can also provide an alternate source of fuel for the body, reducing the demand for glucose and increasing ATP production. The absence of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and added sugars in the diet will reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which can improve cellular energy production and ATP synthesis.

Nutrients Involved in ATP Synthesis

ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is the primary molecule that our cells use to store and transfer energy. The process of cellular respiration is responsible for the production of ATP within our cells. The three macronutrients – carbohydrates, fats, and proteins – are all involved in ATP synthesis via cellular respiration, albeit in different ways. Micronutrients also play a major role in this process.


Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which is the primary fuel source for most of the body’s cells. The process of cellular respiration begins with glycolysis, a process in which glucose is converted into pyruvate. This process occurs in the cytoplasm of the cell and does not require oxygen. During glycolysis, a small amount of ATP is produced.

The pyruvate produced during glycolysis is then transported into the mitochondria, where it is converted into acetyl-CoA through a process called pyruvate oxidation. Acetyl-CoA enters the Krebs cycle, a series of biochemical reactions that occur in the mitochondria and involve the oxidation of acetyl-CoA to produce ATP, carbon dioxide, and water. The Krebs cycle generates most of the ATP produced during cellular respiration. Yes, we still need carbs, but we get plenty while on an anti-inflammtory diet.


Fatty acids are a major source of energy for the body and play a critical role in ATP production via cellular respiration. Fatty acids can be divided into two main types: saturated and unsaturated.

Saturated fatty acids

Saturated fatty acids are typically solid at room temperature and are found primarily in animal sources such as meat, butter, and cheese. They are also found in coconut oil and palm oil. Saturated fatty acids are metabolized differently than unsaturated fatty acids, as they are more difficult to break down.

Once inside the cell, saturated fatty acids undergo a process called beta-oxidation. This process involves a series of chemical reactions that break down the fatty acid into acetyl-CoA molecules, which can then enter the Krebs cycle for ATP production. Beta-oxidation generates a large amount of ATP, making it an efficient way to produce energy.

Unsaturated fatty acids

Unsaturated fatty acids are typically liquid at room temperature and are found primarily in plant-based sources such as nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. They can be further classified as monounsaturated or polyunsaturated, depending on the number of double bonds in their structure.

Like saturated fatty acids, unsaturated fatty acids are broken down through beta-oxidation. However, the presence of double bonds in unsaturated fatty acids makes them more susceptible to oxidation and damage. To prevent damage, cells contain antioxidant systems that protect against oxidative stress.


Proteins are broken down into amino acids, which can be used to produce ATP. Amino acids are first converted into either pyruvate or acetyl-CoA, which can then enter the Krebs cycle to produce ATP.

While amino acids can be used to produce ATP, they do not directly enter the Krebs cycle, which is the primary pathway for ATP synthesis. Instead, amino acids are first broken down through a process called deamination, which removes the amino group from the amino acid. The remaining carbon skeleton can then be used for energy production via cellular respiration.

The carbon skeletons of different amino acids can enter the Krebs cycle at various points, depending on the specific amino acid. For example, the carbon skeleton of alanine can be converted into pyruvate, which can then enter the Krebs cycle. Similarly, the carbon skeleton of glutamate can be converted into alpha-ketoglutarate, which is an intermediate in the Krebs cycle.

However, amino acids are not a primary source of energy for the body, as they are not as efficient as carbohydrates and fats for ATP synthesis. Amino acids are typically only used for energy production under conditions of prolonged fasting or extreme exercise, when carbohydrate and fat stores have been depleted.