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Is your low calorie diet making you fat?

TIPPING POINT: Eating fewer calories doesn't always lead to weight loss

EATING FEWER calories means you’ll burn more than you eat, right? That’s actually a common misconception.

Such diets often include too few calories and macronutrients, causing the body to use its own muscle for fuel. Why is that such a bad thing if you’re losing weight anyway?

Well, when you lose muscle tissue like this, your body composition becomes similar to that of an old person. Remember, as we get older, we gradually lose our muscle tissue (about 30 percent over time) which is what keeps us firm and toned and gives us energy.

Not only does this cause many common health issues such as cardiovascular problems and poorly functioning organs, but it also slows down your metabolism (the rate at which you burn food for energy) by as much as 45 percent. So, for every pound of muscle you lose in this way, it becomes easier to gain fat, even when your food intake stays the same.

By contrast, every pound of muscle you gain will burn an extra 50 to 100 calories per day, even at rest. So, your well-intentioned low-calorie diet might very well be losing you your vital muscle, making it even easier for you to put on weight! (Hence, the common yo-yo effect many dieters experience).

From the age of 30, we lose on average half a pound of lean muscle tissue each year. So, simply adding five pounds of muscle will actually rejuvenate you physically by some 10 years and will have untold resulting health benefits, as well as make you feel younger and more energetic. We regularly do this for our clients and they love us for it!

• Gina owns the Educogym personal training gym in London’s Docklands area, where she personally helps clients to get into great shape. To find out the best way for you to get into shape, call Gina on 0845 0534 930.

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