We will write a custom Essay on The Problem with Calorie Restrictive Diets specifically for you
301 certified writers online
This article focuses on the current trend in calorie restrictive diets wherein people think that the weight they lose when dieting is fat when in reality it is mostly muscle and water weight. The type of myth I chose to utilize this article is that dieting (i.e. drastic calorie deficiency) helps in long term weight loss goals.
What most people fail to realize is that there is a massive difference between weight loss and fat loss. In the case of fad diets, people seem to think that when they see their weight going down it is an indicator that they are losing fat. A more likely scenario is that they are losing muscle mass and water weight since fat is the last thing the body catabolizes which is the worst outcome that could occur (Rubin, 41).
What happens during a diet?
You see when you go on a calorie restrictive diet; your body automatically shifts into what is known as “famine mode” wherein it tries to store as much fat as possible. This is an evolutionary response during times when food was scarce and the body needed to store as many calories as possible to survive (Fusco and Pani, 3157-3170).
The inherent problem though is that at the present, people continue to be more physically active despite subsisting on fewer calories due to the need to go to work or go to school etc. As a result, your body will catabolize your muscles in order to “make up” the difference in caloric intake so that it can continue to function (Fusco and Pani, 3157-3170).
Catabolism and Anabolism
When you exercise you are making your body enter into a catabolic state wherein it breaks down the muscle
in order to perform particular exercises. After that comes an anabolic state where your body uses the food you eat to build back the muscles stronger than before. Basically:
a.) catabolism = destroying the muscles
b.) anabolism = growth and making the body stronger
In cases where a person goes into a long term calorie restrictive diet, they are making their body enter into a long term catabolic state which can be considered as a form of long term destruction. The reason behind this is that they are simply not eating enough to sustain the muscles. As a result, the muscles get smaller and smaller.
Importance of maintaining Muscle Mass
Our muscles burn calories on a daily basis, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn while the less muscle you have the fewer calories you burn. So, if you enter into a calorie restrictive diet and you keep on losing muscle sure you are losing weight but you are not losing fat, rather, you are losing muscle mass instead and that is a bad thing (Rubin, 41).
The fact is that it is a lot harder to gain muscle than fat. In order to gain muscle a person would need to perform various types of resistance training exercises. However, since they are on a calorie restrictive diet, it is unlikely that they would have the energy to do so. It will come to a point that the fat will come back with a vengeance and they will not be able to lose it as easily since they do not have enough muscle mass (Rubin, 41).
Based on what has been presented so far, it can be seen that in the case of drastic calorie restrictive diets, the weight loss is temporary since when a person bounces back from the diet and there is lesser muscle mass to burn the fat, they will become fatter and it will be harder to lose weight. The end result is that the person dieting will go back to the calorie restriction resulting in them entering a vicious cycle.
Fusco, Salvatore, and Giovambattista Pani. “Brain Response To Calorie Restriction.” Cellular & Molecular Life Sciences 70.17 (2013): 3157-3170.
Rubin, Courtney. “Do Trendy Diets Work?.” Health (Time Inc.) 27.4 (2013): 41. MasterFILE Premier. Web.