Diet & Health

Feb 102011

A diet low in calories can do more harm than good. The lost weight will inevitably return and it will be even more difficult to get rid of it.

A study by the Medical School of Harvard shows that repeated dieting makes weight loss more difficult. In this experiment, 80 obese patients were put on a diet. Each of them lost an average of 24 pounds during a period of 231 days, which means little more than 1 / 8 of a kilogram daily. Having regained all the lost weight, they were put back on exactly the same diet. But this time, they lost less than 1 / 12 of a kilogram per day or 12 pounds in 184 days on average. At this rate, it would take them 368 days to lose the same 24 pounds (137 days longer than the first time).

But, why does this happen?

When you deprive yourself of food in order to lose weight, you lose muscle along with fat. This way when you return to the same lifestyle that made you overweight in the fist place, you gain back the weight and the total amount of body fat increases. The final result is that you become even fatter and end up having less muscle mass, which decreases your ability of burning calories. This happens because the metabolic rate of your body depends on the amount of pure muscle mass, and a decrease of muscle tissue will cause a reduction in the rate of your metabolism. Remember, that muscles burn calories and fat cells store them, which means that the less muscle you have, the less fat you burn.

What is more, low-calories diets cause your thyroid gland to produce less T-3, which is a hormone that regulates the rate of your metabolism. The result is that your metabolic rate decreases by about 15%, making it harder and harder to lose weight. Normally, if you just went back to your old eating habits, the T-3 should return to its normal level and your metabolism should also be fully functional. Unfortunately, if you lose muscle mass, T-3 will be lower than before and you will end up having a significantly slower metabolism.

So, how do you address this problem?

The formula for healthy and permanent weight loss is to follow a workout that increases strength and muscle mass and have a balanced diet. If you miss any of these essential components, then you are destined to lose your muscle mass and gradually get even fatter.

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