It's important to consult general health guides if you're embarking on a new diet or fitness regime, to make sure that you're approaching your programme safely.
If carried out incorrectly, both dieting and exercise can be bad for your body, so many diet and fitness books also contain general health guides.
An alarming fact about dieting is that out of the many people who decide to go on a diet and exercise programme, not only do 95% of them fail, but many end up in worse physical shape than they were before they began.
Of course the aim of general health guides isn't to put you off trying to lose weight by changing what you eat and exercising, but to encourage you to do it sensibly in a way that will help rather than harm your body.
Risks of low calorie diets
One potential risk of a low calorie diet is that it can result in muscle loss rather than fat reduction. This is because when your body is suddenly deprived of food, it preserves its own most useful tissue as future emergency energy stores. This means that your body holds on to fat and burns muscle instead, because fat produces 9 calories of energy per gram and muscle only 4 calories.
Because muscles themselves burn a lot of energy, if you lose muscle your metabolic rate will drop, meaning that after you stop a low calorie diet and return to your old pattern of eating, you will actually put on more weight than you did before. Another problem with losing muscle is that you can become fatigued doing simple daily tasks, because muscles store energy for the body in the form of glycogen, and with less muscle, your body has fewer energy reserves to draw upon.
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