Losing weight is hard. From a change in diet to a high-level workout, it can require a serious overhaul of your lifestyle. Usually, the goal is to reduce body fat and increase muscle. But sometimes, in this search, you can start losing muscle rather than fat – and that's not a great scenario.
"It's bad to lose muscle instead of fat, because muscles are the main actors in the movement and function of the body," says Dr. med. Gerardo Miranda-Comas, physiotherapist at Mount Sinai Hospital. "Loss of muscle mass adversely affects strength and endurance, resulting in performance degradation."
But of course your body should not first claim muscle strength when losing weight – if you & # 39; that's right.
"Muscles are generally not lost to fat – they depend heavily on diet and volume of activity," says Miranda-Comas. "A person trying to lose weight by not eating can first lose muscle mass before eating fat."
How does that happen? Well, the body prefers to gain carbohydrates (glucose) as energy. If this is not possible, glycogen is considered. This is glucose that is stored in the liver and in the muscles, says dr. Miranda-Comas.
"Fat is also used to generate energy depending on the duration of physical activity, and a person can train their body to use fat as the primary source of energy," says Dr. Miranda-Comas. (Hello, ketosis – the basis of the keto diet.)
"A healthy diet usually contains 45-65% carbs, between 15-35% protein and 20-35% fat," says Wesley Delbridge, RDN. Speaker of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. "The point is, to have a balanced diet and not to restrict the food too much."
Of course, this depends on the diet you follow. Some may be low carbohydrate (like the keto diet), high protein (like the Atkins diet), or low in fat. However, if you bring it to extremes, your body will begin to feel it.
But how can you tell if you lose muscle and not fat? Here are 4 characters.