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METABOLISM COMPARED TO COMBUSTION.
The constituents of the food, viz., the proteids, fats, carbohydrates and salts are indifferent to oxygen outside of the animal organisms but readily combine with oxygen within the body. As a certain amount of heat is generated and a certain amount of energy liberated during the passage of the food-material through the body, the whole process has been rather crudely compared to a combustion, life to a flame and the body to a machine that burns the fuel that is fed to it. This conception is inaccurate, for it merely considers the most superficial manifestations of the life-process, the initial and the terminal stages of a most intricate process, the finer, intermediary mechanism of which we are just beginning to understand.If we determine the quantity of oxygen inspired within a stated time-unit and the quantity of oxygen excreted (in gaseous, liquid or solid combinations) through
CROFTAN AC. THE FUNCTION OF THE SOLUBLE FERMENTS OF THE BLOOD IN INTRACELLULAR DIGESTION.. JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(18):1123–1126. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.62480180001001
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