Which Came First: The Protein or the Muscle?

Which Came First: The Protein or the Muscle?
Ladies Lifting Kettlebells in Boot Camp Style Workout

Many modern fad diets are focused solely on the muscle to carbohydrate intake ratio. They force dieters to avoid most starches, carbohydrates and even fruits in order to shed a few pounds. Claims are constantly arising that a high protein diet will create muscle where flab currently resides and only excess protein will produce this result. The stress on protein is not an entirely bad concept, but like most good things, when taken beyond moderation, goes a bit awry.

The problem with this thinking is that innocent people are led to believe that they can reshape their bodies simply by eating chicken instead of apples. That may be an oversimplification, but the elementary breakdown stresses the point that these fad diets are unhealthy if followed over an extended period.

The first myth that must be broken is that protein replaces fat with lean muscle. There is truth that muscle, when in development, will encourage the body to utilize energy from other sources, such as fat cells. This means that when a person trains regularly and engages a variety of muscle groups, they are likely burning calories and fat throughout the day. If a person lives a very sedentary lifestyle and does not stretch or use muscle groups regularly, they will burn energy from the muscles and store fat. The second myth that must be debunked is that carbohydrates are bad and should be avoided at all costs. Simple and complex are the two types of carbohydrates that are body receives for breakdown from food products. Complex carbohydrates are useful, and even essential to the body, especially during and after a strenuous workout. They feed the muscles quick energy and provide fuel during exertion. The simple carbohydrates turn quickly to sugar and are really not necessary for the body, but can be broken down and used for energy. However, they will be used last and are likely to be stored as fat in the interim.

Knowing how protein and carbohydrates work to fuel the body is essential to following a sensible diet and workout plan. No diet will change the way the body operates naturally. Eating a well-balanced diet and performing regular exercise are the only proven ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight and body.