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Picking Bad Diets Can Lead to Loss of Muscle Tone
- Too many of the diets we end up choosing have an unintended consequence on our body: muscle loss.
- When too much muscle is lost, your metabolism is going to begin slowing down.
Dieting has become a huge industry in the United States. You can turn on the television and see ads for pills promising miracle weight loss and six-pack abs with, no exercise needed. You can buy diet books and pre-packaged foods all supposedly created and based on science. Unfortunately, too many of the diets we end up choosing have an unintended consequence on our body: muscle loss.
The Importance of Considering Muscle Loss
Our muscles influence our metabolism. The more lean muscle in our bodies, the faster our metabolism is going to be. A faster metabolism is good for weight loss because our bodies burn up excess calories and fat faster so less remains to be deposited on our bodies. That means, ideally, weight loss should encourage muscle gain, not loss. Unfortunately, that’s rarely what happens.
How Diets Cause Muscle Loss
Think about the idea behind most diets. Almost all diets urge you to lower your caloric intake. This suggestion is usually paired with the idea of exercising away some of the calories you take in. The bottom line with many diets is that you want get as close as possible to having no calories left over in your body at the end of the day. While that may sound good and may end up helping you drop pounds, you’ll also end up dropping muscle mass.
The reason for this is that our muscles need those calories. When you try to build muscle mass, you don’t stop eating. Instead, you eat more, up to six times a day, and you try to look for high-calorie foods because these build muscles. When you don’t have enough calories to support your muscles, muscle loss occurs. Most people don’t realize it, but muscle loss occurs before fat loss. Most of what you lose when you step on the scale, especially if you’re losing weight fast, is water and muscle.
The Consequences of Muscle Loss & Dieting
As mentioned above, our muscles play an important role in our metabolism. When too much muscle is lost, your metabolism is going to begin slowing down. As that happens, you are going to find losing weight more and more difficult. If you end up going back to your old eating habits, as most of us do, you will actually end up gaining back the weight quickly because of this reduction in your metabolism. Plus, you’ll gain almost all of it back as fat, which means that next time around, losing weight will be even more difficult, and you’ll start off with less lean muscle.
Decreasing Muscle Loss
Research conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) may shed some light on how we can prevent muscle loss while also trying to lose weight. Physicians often recommend low-protein diets for patients who are suffering from renal failure, but they often lose muscle as a result. When such a diet was combined with resistance training, however, patients actually gained muscle. That means if you’re serious about losing weight, the best advice is to incorporate more physical activity into your daily routine while also trying to find a balanced diet that will improve your overall long-term health.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Healthy Eating Habits21 Nov 2008|