Why eat if I’m trying to lose weight?

by Brock Cook

When it comes to losing weight, many Americans lean towards restrictive diets and eating little as possible by skipping meals here and there. In reality, you need to eat to burn fat because the bodies primary nutritional stipulate is energy (food). With an inadequate amount of energy coming from food, the body will alter muscle protein into useable energy to satisfy needs of the brain, nervous system (NS), and red blood cells. Due to the brain, NS, and red blood cells inability to metabolize fat and use it as energy as it does carbohydrates, the body begins to convert muscle protein (rather than fat) into an energy aid; this eventually results in loss of muscle mass.

Though the scale may show that you have lost weight, in actuality you have lost the tissue (muscle protein), which is significant to burning fat. Muscle tissue has the ability to burn up to 70% of stored body fat, so losing a considerable amount can be detrimental to your ability to decrease total body fat overall. Indeed, the weight lost while dieting can equate to 10-20% of those pounds being lost in lean muscle mass.

Just as poor dieting can lead to retaining body fat and losing muscle, the same goes for aging and inactivity. The famous saying “use it or lose it” stands true for maintaining an adequate amount of muscle mass. Physical inactivity can lead to losing muscle mass, and in turns lowers an individual’s capacity to burn body fat. As for aging is concerned, each year after the age of 25, both women and men are capable of losing up to 1-2% of their overall muscle mass.

The moral of the story is this, if at anytime time you lose your muscle mass due to poor dieting, aging, and inactivity, in turn you will eventually lose your capacity to burn fat. So, make sure that your diets are well balanced including all major food groups, and engage in some type of physical activity (such as aerobic training and resistance training) for a minimum of 30 minutes 3-5 days per week.

Bennett, Nancy. “Eating to Lose Weight.” Spine Universe. 25/Nov./2008. Spine Universe. 24 Feb 2009 http://www.spineuniverse.com/displayarticle.php/article1133.html

Copyright 2012 – Brook Cook. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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