Tips for Building Muscle and Burning Fat
We all want to have lean bodies. Building muscle and burning fat are the keys to looking toned and healthy. One of the body’s natural cycles involves occasionally breaking muscle proteins down to be used for energy, a process called “protein turnover.” The body is in a continuous cycle of anabolic (muscle building) and catabolic (breaking muscle down). The body seeks a natural balance between these two alternating processes—with a preference towards anabolic. We literally feed and encourage either of these states mostly through the dietary choices we make.
Many people on typical “weight loss” diets are under the mistaken impression that eating “light” meals, or eating fewer and smaller meals during the day can help them lose weight. The reverse is actually true.
Studies reveal that the weight one loses along with any temporary fat loss is typically muscle. Severely-curtailed low-calorie diets can cause the body to go into “starvation and conservation” mode. These kinds of diets or even long periods during the day without eating can actually create a catabolic state of muscle burning to conserve energy. As Dr. D’Adamo explains, muscle is metabolically active tissue, requiring a great deal of caloric energy just to maintain it. “Maintaining a high percentage of active tissue is particularly important when you are trying to lose weight. With diets that severely restrict calories, you may lose weight but also lose muscle tissue. Since these diets do nothing to increase active tissue mass, your metabolic rate remains unchanged or declines, leaving you predisposed to regain the weight you lost (or perhaps more) as soon as you resume normal eating.”
This is due to several reasons: With fewer meals, the body slows its metabolism, making the food we do eat harder to metabolize. The more frequent, smaller, nutrient-rich meals we eat, the more efficient the metabolism becomes! In fact, this has been measured. Using our resting (basal) metabolism as the starting point, the additional caloric expenditure that it takes to digest, absorb, and process the food you eat is called “The Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF).”
Not surprisingly, different foods have different effects on TEF, which gives us just one more reason knowing the best foods for your blood type. One significant study demonstrated that during the normal six-hour resting metabolism period, we typically burn about 270 calories. When eating a single meal of carbohydrates alone or fat alone, the energy burned during this six-hour period reached 290 calories (an additional 20 calories). Interestingly, when eating protein alone the subjects in this study burned 310 calories during this six hour period (an additional 40 calories). It appears, protein alone had double the thermogenic potential over fat or carbs alone