Losing Fat by Building Muscle: The Physiology of Fat and Muscle
Muscle and fat are two very distinct kinds of tissue. Fat is very light in weight and low in density. Muscle is much higher in density and weighs a lot more than fat. In fact, five pounds of fat takes 3 or 4 times more room than 5 pounds of muscle.
Muscle Development and Weight.
If you are on a routine that develops muscle tissue you may begin to appear much thinner, but actually be heavier than before you started on the routine. Fat is a resting tissue. Its metabolic rate (the rate at which it burns energy) is very low. The fat tissue is more stable since it burns almost no energy it is hard to burn it off and rid your body of it.
Muscle tissue burns a lot of energy, all day, even at night. Most people find that if they have a high proportion of muscle tissue they can burn off fat much faster than if they have a high proportion of fat. It’s not that fat turns into muscle. It is that having the muscle enables the faster burning away of fat tissue. The best way to lose fat is a regimen of exercise that develops muscle tissue.
The Role of Fat.
Energy storage is one of the principal roles of fat (or adipose tissue) in the body. Fat is a loose connective tissue which stores energy to be used and burned by muscles. It also insulates the body under the skin and surrounds and cushions the internal organs of the body. Most fat is part of the integumentary system which includes the skin. It insulates the body. It cushions the organs of the body like bubble wrap. It is also a way that the body stores energy from food for use in emergencies.
Two major components of foods are carbohydrate components and protein components. When you eat, the carbohydrates are chemically separated from the proteins. The former are energy sources that get channeled by the digestive process into fuel deposits and into fats which do not burn energy quickly but store energy for the long term. Proteins are channeled into the body’s building process, building muscle, hormones, vitamins and other essential biological equipment.
The fuel from carbohydrates enters the bloodstream and is absorbed by cells that need the energy for heating or motion. Extra energy-loaded carbohydrates are converted into fat deposits. Most of the time the body runs on fuels from the carbohydrates that are converted in sugars that burn easily in the body’s chemistry. When the carbohydrates are low in supply, the body converts some fat into energy-producing sugars.
Fats are only converted for use as fuel when the supply of more readily available sugar-makers like carbohydrates are in low supply. If you want to burn more fat, you need to maintain a relatively low carbohydrate diet. Low carbohydrate diets (diets low on foods that are most easily converted into sugars–foods like breads, starches, fruits, and food sugars) force the body to use more of the energy stored in fats.
Low Carbohydrate Diets.
The idea behind the low carbohydrate diet is that reducing the easily accessible sugars lowers the production of insulin and causes the body to burn energy stored in fats which changes the ratio of muscle to fat. Exercise also uses up a lot of easily accessible sugars, lowers the production of insulin and forces the body to make use of the energy stored in fats.
In effect, weight loss is only part of the healthy diet idea. The ratio of fat cells to muscle cells say more about the excess of fat in the body. In general, it is less healthy to have a lot of potential energy stored in low metabolism fat cells than it is to use as much available energy as possible by increasing the volume of energy consuming muscle cells.
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