A more accurate question may be, “How can I minimize muscle loss while dieting?” When people lose weight, whether it’s by dieting, running marathons, or bariatric surgery, they primarily lose fat, but also lose water (body fluid) and some muscle tissue. A certain amount of muscle loss is expected and “normal”. However, although some muscle loss is expected, it’s prudent to follow a healthy eating and exercise plan in order to minimize the loss.
Individuals who do not consume an adequate amount of protein while dieting will likely experience a greater, inappropriate amount of muscle tissue loss. There is evidence that the muscle loss during weight loss can be minimized by eating more protein and with exercise, particularly weight training.
Some possible causes of excessive muscle loss while dieting include inadequate protein intake and inadequate physical activity. Some people believe that the rapidity of weight loss is a predictor of the extent of muscle loss. However, at the Lindora Medical Clinics, we have not found that to be the case.
Worse news for weight losers (though potentially motivating) is that, should one regain weight after having lost it, the regained weight will consist of disproportionately more fat. That means that body fat will be higher than it would have been at a previously lower weight. It is because of this “lose some muscle and then regain more fat” cycle that people often find it difficult to lose weight each successive time around.