There are many ideas that relate to the issue of fat loss. Most of these are myths that have not been substantiated. One of the myths is that eating less can cause fat loss. You may even be surprised to learn that in addition to not causing fat loss, eating less may also bring you more adverse effects rather than benefits.
Eating less will cause muscle loss
Contrary to the popular belief that consuming fewer calories will make your body burn additional fat, it actually makes your body’s metabolism slow down. The body preserves its fat and resorts to breaking down the muscle tissue instead, thereby aggravating the primary cause of obesity. The burning of fat happens as a last resort, after the body has no other option, in which case it can burn a small amount of body fat.
How the body reacts to starvation
When the body senses that you are starving, it tends to hold on to body fat for stored energy. This is because the body needs stored energy when it gets cues that you could starve. You may also ask yourself what your body would need in minimal quantities when it is starving. Well, in such a case, it wants less tissue (which torches many calories). The tissues, which are well known for burning tons of calories, are muscle tissue. As such, when the body receives signals that you could be starving, it starts to reduce or eliminate the muscle tissue, as it is hungry for calories. According to several studies, the weight loss that happens when one is eating less is not due to fat loss, but to muscle loss.
In the long run, eating less, which leads to burning of muscles, results in more fat in the body and not less, as many imagine. Surprisingly, when we stop starving ourselves, we make so many calories available to the body, but it needs fewer as a result of the missing muscles that were broken as well as its lowered metabolism level. Additionally, the body perceives eating normal quantities of food as excess eating, and thus makes new fat deposits.
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Study on the negative effect of food deprivation
A study at the University of Geneva involved three groups of rats:
➢ The Normal group- adult rats that ate normally for 35 days
➢ The Eat Less group– adult rats that ate less for 10 days and normally for 25 days
➢ The Skinny group– young rats who weighed almost as much as the “Eat Less” group and ate normally for 25 days.
At the end of 35 days, the weight and body fat percentage of the rats were measured. The findings showed that the “Eat Less” group had the highest weight and body fat percentage, despite having eaten less for ten days. The conclusion, then, is that eating less made this group add weight instead of losing it.
The bottom line
When you start eating less, the body’s top priority is restoring all the fat that was lost and to protect you from future starvation. So, how does it do this? It stores additional fat, a phenomenon researchers call “fat super accumulation.” The same is to blame for relapsing cases of obesity common in human beings. The worst part of it is that you do not have to eat excessively, but to just go back to your normal eating, which will cause fat to accumulate. Another reason behind the extra fat storage is that when you starve your body, your metabolism goes down. When you resume eating normal quantities and quality of food, the slowed metabolism senses it to be excess, thereby resulting in fat storage.
So, eating less (or starvation) does not cause fat loss, and it is even harmful to your health.