How do you lose fat and not muscle?

Weight loss refers to a decrease in overall body weight due to the loss of muscle, water, and fat. Fat loss refers to weight loss from fat and is a more specific and healthier goal than weight loss. However, it can be difficult to tell if you’re losing weight through fat or muscle. This article explains why fat loss is more important than weight loss, how to tell the difference between the two, and tips on fat loss and muscle maintenance.

Ways to know if you are losing fat

It’s common to track your weight loss progress with a scale. While this can be helpful, most scales don’t differentiate between fat loss and muscle loss. Because of this, tracking your weight alone is not a reliable way to tell if you are losing fat or muscle and how much. Conversely, a bathroom scale can provide a more accurate picture of your body composition by measuring the percentage of fat and muscle you have.

Focus on fat loss, not weight loss

Many weight loss programs claim to help you lose weight quickly and easily. However, it’s important to realize that a significant portion of that weight can include water and muscle loss. Muscle loss can be harmful as muscle is a crucial part of your overall health. Maintaining a healthy muscle percentage has several benefits, such as: B. Regulating healthy blood sugar levels, maintaining healthy fats like triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, and controlling inflammation.

In fact, several studies have linked a higher fat-to-muscle ratio to chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and diabetes. Preserving muscle mass can also reduce the risk of age-related muscle wasting, which leads to frailty and potential disability. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest. This is the main reason why men generally have higher calorie needs than women. Therefore, losing weight as muscle can decrease the number of calories you burn at rest, making it easier to regain the lost weight as fat.

How to lose fat and maintain or gain muscle

There are a few simple ways to make sure you’re losing fat and maintaining or gaining muscle mass as you do. It’s about eating plenty of protein, exercising regularly, and following a nutrient-dense diet that puts you in a slight calorie deficit.

Eat lots of protein

Protein is an important nutrient for a wide range of bodily functions. They are needed to make enzymes that aid in digestion and energy production, regulate fluid balance, and support immune system health, among other things. Protein is also important for maintaining existing muscle and promoting the growth of new muscle, especially when you’re losing weight.

In a 4-week study, young men were randomly assigned to a low-calorie diet of 1.2 or 2.4 grams per kg of body weight combined with an intense exercise program. While both groups lost significant weight, the men following the high-protein diet lost 1.3 kg more fat mass and gained 1.1 kg more muscle mass than the men following the low-protein diet.

Importantly, the study found that high-intensity resistance training followed by a high-protein recovery snack made the biggest difference. Additionally, it limited men’s fat intake to create a calorie deficit and maintained their carbohydrate intake for adequate energy for exercise. And while eating lots of protein on a low-calorie, non-resistance diet won’t help you build muscle, it can help you maintain muscle while increasing fat loss.

A review of 20 studies involving men and women aged 50 and older found that a high-protein diet of at least 1 gram per kg resulted in greater retention of muscle mass and greater fat loss than a low-protein diet. Although protein requirements vary with age, health, gender and level of physical activity, protein intake of between (1 and 1.6 grams per kg body weight per day can promote muscle maintenance and fat loss during a diet. Recommended protein intake is used as a reference through food is 0.8 grams per kg body weight per day.

Physical activity

Exercise is the most effective way to promote fat loss, not muscle loss. An analysis of 6 studies found that obese older adults who did cardio and strength training at least three times a week while following a calorie-restricted diet retained 93% more muscle than those who didn’t. While exercise alone is an effective strategy for maintaining muscle mass as part of a diet, combining exercise with a higher protein intake can help optimize your results. Aim for at least 150 to 300 minutes of cardio and muscle-strengthening activity per week that involves all major muscle groups.

Follow a low calorie diet

In order to lose weight, you must create a calorie deficit. You can create a calorie deficit by reducing your calorie intake or by exercising, but preferably both.
However, too much calorie saving can result in greater muscle loss than fat loss. Instead, try to moderately reduce the number of calories you eat by 500 to 600 per day to minimize muscle loss while facilitating fat loss. You can reduce the number of calories you eat by eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and less sugary foods and drinks, processed meats, and fried foods.

What to think about to lose fat instead of muscle

Weight loss refers to a decrease in your overall body weight, while fat loss refers to weight loss that occurs specifically from body fat losses. To monitor fat loss, it makes more sense to use a scale that calculates your fat mass than just tracking your body weight.

Other easy ways to measure fat loss are by measuring the inches lost from your waist and hips and noting changes in the way your clothes fit around your waist. Losing weight as fat, not muscle, should be the priority given how important the fat-to-muscle ratio is to your overall health.
You can prioritize fat loss by eating plenty of protein, exercising, and moderately restricting your calorie intake.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace the advice of a doctor.

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