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Metabolic rate: Knowing your body

It’s hot, it’s dry, it’s summer in Idaho. With the summer weather comes the feeling of body consciousness.

As more and more people begin dieting and exercising, health experts say it’s important to know your body before trying to change it.

It’s a lot easier to know how many calories you’re supposed to be eating, rather than guessing. At the Pulmonary Function Lab inside Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls, one doctor said a certain test can give you the numbers you need to know.

“It’s important to know how many calories you’re actually using,” said Bob Hiatt, respiratory therapist. “That way you can adjust your calorie requirements if you want to lose weight or gain weight. If we know where you are, we know where you need to change.”

It’s all about your metabolic rate; basically, the amount of calories your body will burn in a single day with minimal physical activity.

Hiatt has been helping people find their metabolic rate for nearly 30 years and said a quick 15-minute study is all it takes. The best part is that all you have to do is lay back and breathe.

“We collect all of the air you breathe. Out of that, we find out how much oxygen you’re using, how much carbon dioxide you’re producing, and out of all that we can find out all sorts of things; and one of them is the amount of calories you’re using,” said Hiatt.

Losing one pound a week usually means cutting out 500 calories per day. That means people who need to consume 2,600 calories to stay the same weight, need to cut the intake down to 2,100 calories a day.

“It also tells us your respiratory quotient, and through the RQ we can find out if you’re being overfed or underfed and that’s important to know in today’s world” said Hiatt.

Knowing your metabolic rate can also help with the detection of various lung and chest problems.

For more information, contact Mountain View Hospital at 208-557-2887.

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