| bioenergetic theory bioenergetic theory of health bioenergetics knowledge metabolic theory metabolism

What Is The Bioenergetic Theory of Health

By Tyler Woodward

Have you ever wondered about the science behind being healthy? What's the point of choosing the "fresh green" salad over the delicious fried chicken fingers? Well, the Bioenergetic Theory of Health gives you that answer.

Key Takeaways:

theory of health

What Is The Bioenergetic Theory Of Health:

Bioenergetics is defined as: 

“The scientific study of the flow and transformation of energy in and between living organisms and between living organisms and their environment.”

The Bioenergetic Theory of Health uses the study of bioenergetics to maximize the flow of energy through an organism. This boils down to two central ideas:  

  1. There is no life without energy
  2. Energy provides the “currency” or ability to create structure

According to the bioenergetic theory of health, when there is a breakdown in the ability of an organism or its cells to produce energy then disease ensues. In essence it can no longer produce the energy required to maintain its structure, so “disorder” or its breakdown ensues. 

As a human, you have one central process that governs your ability to produce energy, known as cellular respiration or oxidative phosphorylation. You can think about it as your cells' ability to breathe. If your cells lose their ability to breathe through either not being able to consume enough oxygen or not being able to use that oxygen, the health of the cell begins to decline. 

In cellular respiration, your body uses glucose (sugar) + oxygen (O2) to produce carbon dioxide (CO2) + water (H2O) and energy as ATP (adenosine triphosphate). In the cell it looks like this: 

1 Sugar + 6 Oxygen→6 Carbon Dioxide + 6 Water + ~36 ATP (usable energy)

Cellular Respiration

Our cells use sugar and oxygen as fuel to create carbon dioxide, water and energy as ATP. 

Carbon dioxide plays a major role in regulating your metabolism, or the rate you produce energy. In order to absorb oxygen from your blood, your cells must release carbon dioxide. The more carbon dioxide they release, the more oxygen they absorb. This results in a feedback loop that upregulates your rate of energy consumption, also known as your metabolism/metabolic rate. For this reason, cellular respiration is the most efficient way to produce energy because it uses oxygen at the same rate at which it produces carbon dioxide, in a 1:1 ratio. 

Your cells have a number of built-in back-up mechanisms to create energy including the use of fatty acids (fats) or amino acids (proteins) as fuel instead of sugar. The issue with backup metabolisms is that they are much less efficient at producing energy and produce a number of stressful byproducts. 

The key idea to the bioenergetic theory of health is that anything that increases your cells’ ability to perform cellular respiration and thereby increase your energy consumption is “good” or “healthy”. Remember, energy provides your cells with the ability to create structure, the more structured your cells are the more stable they are. 

We all know the childhood story ‘the 3 little pigs’. In this fashion, you want your cells to be the equivalent to the brick house, not to be made of straw or sticks. While eventually the brick house will crumble (we will die) regardless, the more structured your cells are the longer they will be able to endure the natural stresses of life. 

Read More: What Does It Mean To Be Healthy


The Two Principles Of Bioenergetics:

To accomplish there are two principles we must adhere to:

  1. Energy Balance - You must consume more or less the same amount of calories that you burn on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis.
  2. Micronutrient Balance - You must consume the essential micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, and amino acids) at about the same rate as our body uses them or else you will become deficient in them.

Energy Balance:

If you consume less energy (calories) than you burn you are not providing your body with adequate amounts of energy to perform cellular respiration. Decreasing your cells ability to ‘fortify, rebuild and repair’ themself. Regardless of calories, if your diet does not contain enough of the essential micronutrients then it will be missing some of the tools it needs to maximize cellular respiration and “fortify, rebuild and repair itself”.

To satisfy your energy balance requirement you need to consume enough carbohydrates, protein and fat. This will vary from person to person depending on age, height, muscle mass, and activity level. Most people in the bioenergetic community recommend that the ratio of your macronutrients be about 50-60% carbohydrates, 25-30% protein and 15-20% fats. The idea is more or less to consume enough carbohydrates to fuel your body with energy and to eat enough protein and fats to replenish the “materials” your body used to build and repair.

Learn More: The Cholesterol Collusion


Micronutrient Balance:

To meet your micronutrient requirements you need to consume micronutrient dense foods. The two most micronutrient dense foods on the planet are organ meats and shellfish. If you can consume about 6oz of organ meats and a solid serving of shellfish (oysters, clams, shrimp, scallops, crabs, lobster) on a weekly basis you will have a very solid base. Add in some daily fruits, roots (potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice), juices, and dairy products and you will ensure that you are covering your micronutrient bases. 

In contrast to this, anything that decreases your cells ability to perform cellular respiration is stressful or “unhealthy”. This again comes down to a few things:

  • Avoid Unstable Foods - Foods like polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) are extremely unstable in the body due to our high body temperature and are extremely likely to be oxidized or “rust” in our body. 
  • Avoid Anti Nutrients - There are certain compounds in plants that serve as plant “defense mechanisms” to deter animals from eating them, so you cannot absorb the nutrients (vitamins, minerals) within the plant. These antinutrients physically drain your body of nutrients by either leaching them from your body or preventing you from absorbing other nutrients from your food.  These are things like phytic acid, gluten, goitrogens, lectins that are found primarily in leafy greens, vegetables, nuts and seeds. 

Read More: The War On Micronutrients | The Battle You Never Knew You Were Fighting

If you do these things correctly you’ll achieve the end goal of the Bioenergetic Theory of health which is...

Hormonal Balance:

hormonal balance

Hormonal Balance is your body's tendency to maintain a positive ratio of protective or “anti-stress” hormones to stress hormones. You might even think of this as the “stress balance”. This comes down to being able to recover from all of the “stressors” in your life.  Whether that is physical stress, like exercise, mental or psychological stress, “life stress” (work, family, or friends), and dietary stress, “bad foods”. 

Achieving hormonal balance will allow you and your cells to thrive. Living a long, healthy life, full of energy

The Thermo Diet:

If you're interested in learning about the UMZU approach to the Bioenergetic Theory of Health, make sure to check out our Thermo Diet Program! Written by UMZU's founder Christopher Walker, the Thermo Diet program is the last diet you'll ever need. Say goodbye to your cravings, brain fog, and excess body fat and say hello to endless energy, mental clarity and feeling your absolute.

Thermo Diet

Learn More: Get Rid Of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids


My goal in writing this article, as always, is to provide you with logically-based principles that you can use to form your own conclusions regarding any information you may come across within this subject. I really hope you found this article interesting and if you have anything to add to this article, or any comments or criticism, feel free to reach out to me on our facebook groups (The Thermo Diet Community Group, The UMZU Community Group) or on Instagram @tylerwoodward_fit. Also, please feel free to share this article with anyone that might be interested.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time… be good

~Tyler Woodward
B.S. Physiology and Neurobiology