If you’ve been in the gym for a while, you’ve probably understood how low-carb diets affect your body and you have probably used them once or twice. However, with new generations flooding into the gyms, they are left with scarce or without any knowledge on the subject, so they start believing myths about the diet. Let’s try to shake up some of these myths and see what the truth is.
The major myth is that when you’re trying to reduce or remove carbohydrates from your diet, your body will start losing muscle mass to compensate for the energy. The truth is that when you start a low-carb diet, the stored glycogen in your muscles is quickly used up. Glycogen has a vital role in pulling water towards your muscle fibers so when it’s not there, water levels in your muscles are depleted, making it look like your precious muscles are shrinking.
When people see these results, they think that the low-carb diet is affecting them negatively and permanently, and so they drop it. What they don’t realize is that within a few days your body will adapt to the new situation – it will make and store glycogen in your muscles again, but this time it will be from other sources. Their muscles will fill up with the necessary amount of water again but they will have lost their continuity of the diet.
When you eat lots of protein and barely any carbohydrates, this doesn’t mean that you will lose muscle. On the contrary, it might even make you gain some, while losing body fat. This is because of two things – the boost in your protein consumption and the increase of burning fat for fuel in your body.
However, note that if you decide to go on a low-carb diet, you will need to increase your protein intake to a minimum of 11/2-2 grams per pound of bodyweight, every day. There are actually credible scientific research studies that have demonstrated that eating more protein makes your muscles grow faster. This process is known as protein synthesis, which means that when you eat more protein, your body creates even more protein within itself, which means that your muscle growth potential is increased.
There is another aspect to this – ketones. Ketones are created when your body burns a big amount of body fat and the body uses them as fuel instead of muscle, meaning that your muscle protein is safe. When you barely have any muscle breakdown and your muscle building is boosted by consuming more protein, you are bound to have an amazing muscle growing period.
One of the studies which was performed at the Storrs campus of the University of Connecticut shows that when you’re on a low-carb but also high protein diet, you will gain muscle mass while not even exercising. Take that and slap it on some solid exercising and you’ll be burning fat like crazy, all the while maintaining your muscle mass. The final verdict on this myth is that it is false – however, to turn all of this information in your favor you will need to boost your protein consumption. We would suggest protein that comes from animals, like poultry, fish, beef, dairy and eggs, or if you prefer powders, whey and casein. You can get them at any supplement store.
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