12 Sep 2007
Herein lies the problem with most conventional weight-loss programs. They are faulty in design for the very reasons just explained. Conventional diets lower the caloric intake below the basal metabolic rate to create a negative energy balance. This method will incur weight-loss, but it will be a result of muscle or lean mass loss (protein).
It's important to realize that when the calories drop below the minimal amount of energy required (BMR) to feed the nervous system, the body perceives starvation. When this occurs, not only does the body burn muscle to fuel its energy requirements, but while doing so, it is actually slowing down its metabolism. By ridding itself of muscle, the body is essentially ridding itself of metabolism.
This is where the fat storage occurs during dieting. While shedding muscle under this perceived state of starvation, the body will store whatever it Can as body-fat to protect itself. It also will respond to the threat of starvation by increasing the fat-depositing enzymes which will in turn store more fat.
The long term effects of dieting (especially without physical activity) will produce a negative effect on body-composition. A person who lowers calories below his or her BMR and loses muscle mass through dieting, will lower his or her metabolism. (Remember metabolism is directly proportional to the amount of lean muscle mass).