Saturday, October 24, 2009

Does Your Body Really Burn Muscle When You Don't Eat Regularly?

I received this a few days ago via e-mail from Brad Pilon. It's a must read for anyone who wants to lose weight or might want to in the future. :-)

Brad is a proponent on intermittant fasting and has done extensive study of the research that exists regarding dieting. This is one of many myths that Brad has debunked.

Here's the e-mail...

It probably didn't start with the probably started waaaaay before we were all on-line.

But the myth that your body AUTOMATICALLY chooses to burn muscle when you don't eat just doesn't seem to want to die.

Is it purposeful scaremongering, or is it simply that so many of today's so called nutrition experts just don't bother to do enough background research and simply restate the same old tired myths over and over again?

I'd like to think it's the latter - and that they aren't lying to you on purpose.

But maybe I'm just being optimistic...

Either way, let's put this myth to bed.

The general theory goes like this:

When you diet your body has an overwhelming urge to 'eat' your muscles because muscle is calorically expensive.

But, if you do a quick review of pretty standard human physiology you find that muscle is NOT actually that 'calorically expensive'.

While your Lean Body Mass does burn around 10 calories per day per pound, the vast majority of this comes from your internal organs.

Skeletal muscle only burns about 5 Calories per pound per day. Your heart, liver, kidneys, intestines are calorie burning machines
that burn about 25 calories per pound per day.

So based on this argument of burning tissue that is calorically expensive you would expect your body to burn away heart and liver tissue waay before muscle.

Now the obvious argument is "But those are important organs!"

Well, now we are obviously changing the argument...which still doesn't make sense since FAT IS STORED AS A FUEL to be used when you are low on food

If we are going by level of importance you would still burn your body fat before you ever turned to burning muscle.

Bottom line, this idea is a myth. Probably started by bodybuilders trying their best to describe the weird things that happen to their bodies when they are trying to get
artificially lean, while on a boat load of steroids...but that's another story all together.

Besides, It's actually a bit of moot point because weight training while you are dieting will preserve your muscle mass no matter what.

Don't let them scare you into NOT getting results.

If you want to lose weight, find a comfortable way to eat less, and weight train.

Your friend,

Brad Pilon
www.Eat Stop Eat

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