Difference Between Metabolism and Catabolism

Metabolism vs Catabolism

It would be very important to understand the difference between metabolism and catabolism, as those are very often mistakenly understood terms. Usually, most of the students do not prefer to study physiology due to the difficulties in understanding the extremely complicated biochemical pathways. However, if the overall process is understood with good sense, these metabolic pathways would be a little easy to follow. Therefore, this article would be important for anyone who was not into physiology, as it briefly describes what is meant by metabolism and catabolism separately. In addition, the presented comparison between the two subjects would be interesting to follow.


Metabolism is an extremely vital set of biochemical reactions taking place, sustaining the life of organisms. Metabolic processes are essential to maintain the growth and development of the organisms, and the extraction of energy through metabolic pathways. Metabolism is mainly composed of two major processes known as catabolism and anabolism, which are responsible for harvest and spend energy. Furthermore, organic matter is broken down through the catabolic processes of digestion and those are burnt via cellular respiration to extract energy. The anabolic processes are conducted using the energy from catabolism to construct vital components viz. proteins and nucleic acids to sustain the life in the organism. The metabolic reactions are well organized as pathways, which are controlled using hormones and enzymes. As the metabolism of different organisms being discovered, it was observed that these metabolic pathways are remarkably similar even in very distinctive species. Ecology and evolutionary biology provide explanations for these remarkable similarities. That means the potential of metabolic activity determines the sustainability of life of a particular organism.


In understanding catabolism, it would be best to consider the overall metabolic process, and the molecules are being technically burnt to extract the energy. The cellular respiration is a catabolic process, and mainly glucose and fats are reacted with oxygen for burning to release energy as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Usually, catabolism operates on burning monosaccharaides and fats, and very small amount of proteins or amino acids are used to burn for capturing energy. Catabolism is an oxidation process, during which some part of the energy is released as heat. The generated heat through catabolism is important for the maintenance of the body heat. Carbon dioxide is a main waste product of the cellular respiration or the catabolism. Those waste products are transferred into the venous blood stream via capillaries, and then those are moved into the lungs for exhalation. The growth and development of the cells of the organisms require a great amount of ATPs, and the entire ATP requirement is fulfilled via cellular respiration. Therefore, catabolism carries great importance in producing energy. In other words, catabolism is an essential metabolic process to extract the chemical energy from food.


What is the difference between Metabolism and Catabolism?

• Catabolism is one type of metabolism. In other words, catabolism is one aspect whereas metabolism is the collection of two aspects.

• Energy is extracted or harvested in catabolism, but metabolism consumes, as well as harvests the energy.

• Catabolic rate is higher during a person is actively spending energy, whereas the metabolic rate is higher every time when both catabolism and anabolism take place.

• Catabolic processes tend towards breaking down food into small monomers and using up the stored food to produce energy, whereas the entire metabolic processes are likely to form, repair, and furnish the tissues and organs through producing as well as using the energy.