Updated: Dec 26, 2022
When it comes to weight loss, we only think of losing fat. The fact is, we are actually under-muscled and overly fat. We need to focus on building muscles in order to change our body composition as opposed to just losing weight. The problem with fad or yoyo dieting is that we risk losing our muscle mass along with the fat.
While we need glucose to function, if it's present in our blood for over 2 hours, glucose becomes toxic, causing insulin resistance that eventually leads to diabetes. Fortunately, we have our muscles as primary sites for burning glucose and fat. In fact, they are endocrine organs that release a hormone called,
mytokine which are anti-inflammatory when we contract our muscles during resistance training.
Mytokine is the perfect antidote to the visceral fat that wraps around our organs deep in our abdomen causing inflammation and chronic diseases. Therefore, the more muscles we have, the better our immunity and quality of life. Muscles are indeed our organs for longevity and well-being because our survivability is directly related to our muscle mass which helps manage our blood sugar and hormonal decline as we get older. This is particularly important for menopausal women.
The Quality of our Muscle Mass determines our Quality of Life
Activating Our Muscles Prevents Chronic Diseases
As we age, our body starts losing muscle mass at a faster rate in a process called, sarcopenia and starts gaining anabolic resistance which is the ability to detect and use protein because from our 30s, we start gaining intramuscular fat that makes our muscles look marbled, just like a piece of wagyu steak.
The fat in our muscles blocks the absorption of glucose into our cells, raising insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone that our pancreas releases in an effort for our cells to absorb glucose in the presence of dietary and body fat, and by the same token, insulin also turns excess glucose into body fat.
Chronic diseases such as, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases originate in impaired or inactive muscles, therefore, if we want to have optimal health, we need to maintain and build our muscle mass. The bigger our waistline which should not exceed half of our height, the smaller our brain gets. Dementia like, Alzheimer's is considered to be type 3 diabetes which stems from a sedentary lifestyle and being over-fat and under-muscled.
Double Your Protein Allowance to Start Maintaining Your Muscles
According to Dr. Donald Layman who discovered that we need at least 2.5 grams of leucine in our first and last meal in order to stimulate the production of mTor in our muscles for our muscles to grow. If we don't have at least 50 grams of protein or 20 grams of whey protein powder in our first meal, not only will we not grow any muscles, we will actually keep losing our lean muscle mass after a long period of fasting. In order to maintain our muscles, 2.5 grams of leucine per meal is the minimum threshold.
The quality and quantity of protein matters. Animal protein happen to have more of a complete branch chain amino acid profile and plant-based protein is less complete, therefore you would need to consume more volume and calories in order to obtain the same protein threshold. Diversity in fruit, dark green leafy, root vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and colours is important. Give preference to produce that contain complete protein such as quinoa, buckwheat, spirulina, amaranth, chia and hemp seeds.
Regardless of gender, we need 1 gram per pound of our ideal body weight. For example, mine is 120 pounds and therefore, I need 120 grams of protein with 50 grams in my first and last meal and 20 grams of protein in between. There is no reason to consume all of your daily protein quota in one sitting because your body can only optimally ingest up to 50 grams of protein in a meal and muscle synthesis continues for 5 hours after eating. Therefore, it makes sense to have a 5-hour gap in between your main meals and avoid snacking because it keeps your blood sugar high and it doesn't give your muscles and liver a chance to deplete their glycogen storage in order to burn fat.
Weight training to the point where you are exhausted is best for hypertrophy or muscle growth. It's best to consume protein within half an hour after resistance training for optimal absorption. If you don't have time to cook, then slamming down a 60-gram whey or brown rice protein shake would give you 46 grams of protein and 7.8 grams of leucine. Do not sip it, drink it in one go in order to effectively stimulate the mTor in your muscles for muscle synthesis.
How to Lose Weight, Scientifically?
If you are trying to lose weight, try to keep your carbohydrate intake under 50 grams per meal and 100 grams per day in order to keep your insulin resistance in-check. Avoid refined flour, white rice and sugar. Excess carbohydrates and calories lead to high triglycerides which is the precursor for insulin resistance, and if the trajectory continues because they stimulate mTor in the liver and pancreas, it would eventually lead to obesity and diabetes. For every 100 grams of protein we consume, our body generates 40 grams of carbohydrates through glycogenesis. Dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol whereas the consumption of carbohydrates does.
Use the My Fitness Pal app or the Alan Aragon's Calculator to work out your baseline daily calorie requirement according to your age, weight and activity level then deduct 500 calories to create a daily deficit in order to reach your health goal.
While protein brings satiety, it also has a high thermic effect: for every 100 calories of protein, your energy expenditure to digest it is 20 to 35 calories; 5 to 15 calories for carbohydrates and 0 to 5 calories for fat. Track your calories for 2 weeks to find out your baseline because everyone has a different rate of metabolism.
The Lyon Protocol by Dr. Gabrielle Lyon and Peter Baker
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