Metabolism refers to the chemical reactions that maintain the living state of the cells and organism.  The main purposes of metabolism are energy metabolism within mitochondria, catabolism, and biosynthesis of components such as fatty acids and proteins.  Catabolism, or destructive metabolism, is the process that produces the energy needed for cellular activity. This is generated by the breakdown of large molecules, usually carbohydrates and fats.  Anabolism, or constructive metabolism, is the synthesis of complex molecules from smaller ones.  Catabolism releases energy, and anabolism consumes energy. 

Further reading

Savage et al (2007) Disordered Lipid Metabolism and the Pathogenesis of Insulin Resistance.  Physiological Reviews 87(2) 507

Pearce et al (2013) Metabolic Pathways in Immune Cell Activation and Quiescence, Immunity 38(4) 633

Rowland et al (2018) Gut microbiota functions: metabolism of nutrients and other food components. Eur. J. Nutr. 57 1

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