The most devastating effect of the low calorie diet is the loss of muscle tissue. Once the starvation alarm is triggered, your body begins looking for ways to conserve energy. Muscle is metabolically active tissue. Getting rid of it is the body's way of decreasing energy expenditure. It's easy for your body to use muscle for energy. This process is known Gluconeogenesis - converting muscle into glucose. This includes skeletal muscles, and internal organs, even your heart muscle!
Study after study has shown that very low calorie diets without exercise will always cause 40 - 50% of the weight loss to come from lean tissue. Many diets, especially those that are low in carbohydrates, cause large losses in water weight. Between the loss of water, glycogen and muscle, fully 75% of the weight you lose on such plans is not fat! The initial weight loss on most diets is very deceiving, giving you only the illusion of success. Even with exercise, if a diet is too restrictive, much of the weight loss will still be lean tissue.
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