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Friday, January 21, 2011

Eating To Lose Weight

You need to eat to burn body fat. This is a fact: The first nutritional demand of your body is energy. Without adequate energy, your body will convert muscle protein into energy to feed your brain, nervous system and red blood cells.

These particular tissues do not possess the metabolic machinery to burn fat. They only burn carbohydrates. When your intake of carbohydrate falls below these tissues demand, the body begins to convert tissue protein into carbohydrate to meet their need. The net result is a loss of muscle tissue.

Yes, the scale may say you have lost "weight", but you have lost the very tissue that burns fat. Muscle tissue burns 70% of the fat in your body; so losing muscle sacrifices your ability to burn body fat.

In fact, the "weight" you lose on a diet can represent up to 10 to 20% of those pounds in muscle loss. This poor dieter will not only regain this weight, but then some. All because they have compromised their ability to burn body fat.

This is also why people gain weight as they age.

Aging causes muscle loss. So does inactivity. Have you heard of the saying"Use it or lose it"? This is true of your muscle.

Inactivity leads to muscle loss and muscle loss causes a lowered capacity to burn fat, so you wear more of it.

The bottom line is this: At any time, or for whatever reason, you lose your muscle; you lose your capacity to burn fat. Diets, aging and inactivity all lead to a decreased amount of muscle weight and an increased amount of fat tissue.

Never fear. You can, at any time in your life, rebuild your muscle and teach it to burn fat.

Aerobic exercise rebuilds your muscle and teaches it to burn more fat. Eating right gives you the nutrients you need to make that muscle. The food pyramid outlines how to eat to get the nutrients you need, so let us deal more specifically with energy needs and where that energy needs to come from.

In order to burn just the fat and not the other lean tissue in your body, you need to meet your minimal energy requirement.

If you want to maintain your current weight, this level is found by multiplying your weight by 15.

If you want to lose weight, multiply your ideal weight by ten. For example, if your ideal weight is 140 pounds, your minimal energy requirement is 1400 calories.

Next, you need to factor in the calories needed for exercise and activity. Very active people (those who exercise 3 hours or more a week) need to multiply their minimal requirement by 1.5. Moderately active individuals (those who exercise 1 to 3 hours per week) need to multiply their requirement by 1.2.

Source: Nancy Bennett, M.S., R.D., Nutritionist

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