Difference Between Metabolism and Metabolic Rate

Metabolism vs Metabolic Rate

Having something in the possession and its use are completely different. The possession should be efficiently used in order to appreciate its existence. Metabolism should not only be taking place in an organism but also be functioning in the proper frequency, so that the organism can thrive in the environment. However, the two aspects are sometimes barely understood, but the important differences between metabolism and metabolic rate are discussed in this article.


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 organisms, and the extraction of energy through metabolic pathways. Metabolism is mainly composed of two major processes known as anabolism and catabolism, which are responsible for harvest and spend energy respectively. 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; as an example, the citric acid cycle takes place in both elephants and Escherichia coli bacterium. 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.

Metabolic Rate

Metabolic rate is the frequency of metabolism in a particular individual organism. In other words, the rate at which the metabolism takes place is known as the metabolic rate. Since the processes of extracting energy from food and spending for different functions in the body are collectively known as metabolism, metabolic rate implies the frequency of earning and spending of energy of an individual. Basal metabolic rate is the main aspect of metabolic rate, and its measurement shows the healthiness of an individual. Basal metabolic index is another synonymous measurement of the metabolic rate of an individual. It would also be important to notice that the metabolic rate is an individual-specific characteristic that indicates the efficiency of the body systems of a particular person.

One of the most important indications of the metabolic rate is the longevity of an individual as those are directly related. Metabolic rate is subjected to change due to many reasons including the diet, regular exercising patterns, lifestyles, inherited diseases, drugs, and many other causes.

Metabolism vs Metabolic Rate

• Metabolism is the extraction and spending of energy in an organism while the frequency of such activities is the metabolic rate.

• Metabolism pathways are not different among organisms, whereas metabolic rates are highly different among individuals.

• Metabolic rate directly affects the maximum potential lifespan, whereas the metabolism affects the life but not the lifespan.