Most people know that eating carbohydrates stores belly fat and eating protein builds muscle . But a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that when you overeat on a low-protein diet, it stores bad fat around your organs, including your liver, kidneys, and pancreas. But if you eat a high protein diet, it adds muscle and increases resting metabolism and muscle mass. Since muscle burns seven times more calories than fat, that’s a good thing.

In the study, the researchers admitted 25 volunteers to a hospital for 12 weeks. They controlled everything they ate and did. But they made everyone binge eat about 1,000 calories a day. The only thing different was where the calories came from: protein or carbohydrates.

The low protein (5% protein) group lost 1.5 pounds (70 grams) of muscle, and gained 7.5 pounds (3.40 kilos) of fat. The high protein group (25% protein) gained 6.3 pounds (2.85 kilos) of metabolically active muscle. They also gained fat because they were being force fed. But even though he gained more overall weight, he was less fat than the low-protein group.

Some calories store fat, other calories build muscle

First of all, let’s start by defining what a calorie is. Calorie, is a unit of measurement used to quantify the energy obtained from food . When there are excess calories, they are not burned but are stored by the body as fat. It is common to hear that there are different types of calories. However, what this notion really means is that there are different ways that calories can be obtained.

The main types of calories include: carbohydrates, fat, and protein. All of them are burned when used in the body and converted into heat or calories.

Each type varies in terms of chemical and physical properties. They can be found in various types of food, either exclusively or in combination. Some calories make you store fat, while others make you store muscle .

In a world where for the first time in history, more people are overweight (2.1 billion) than are underweight, this has important implications. And the world is getting bigger – in the next 30 years, the prevalence of obesity will double, especially in countries like China and India.

Carbohydrates – calories that establish fat

The rapidly absorbed carbohydrates from most of the western and increasingly global diet – sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and white flour – are very effectively converted to belly fat in the body . And that leads to obesity and diabetes, or what we could call diabesity.

Another recent study found that the free fructose in high fructose corn syrup (not the fruit) led to dramatic increases in belly fat, bloating, blood pressure, blood sugar, and even pre-diabetes in teens .

Carbohydrates, and the protein trigger, produce very different chemical messages in the body, regardless of calories. Carbohydrates establish fat, while protein establishes muscle .

Protein – muscle-building calories

This protein study adds to a whole series of research showing that high protein diets (25%) do all kinds of obesity-fighting things for your body and brain. For example:

  1. Makes you feel fuller than an equivalent amount of calories from carbohydrates.
  2. This leads to greater weight loss in “free” humans compared to those who were fed extra calories.
  3. Prevents weight gain after weight loss.
  4. Speeds up metabolism and strengthens muscle so you burn more calories throughout the day and even while sleeping.

Reducing belly fat and building muscle is pretty simple . And it’s not just about the calories you consume. It’s about where those calories come from.

Tips to speed up metabolism and get rid of belly fat

Eliminate the sugar

In all its forms. Especially liquid calories from any source (soda, juice, alcohol) all store belly fat. Cut high fructose corn syrup out of your diet, as it is especially good at building belly fat.

Avoid flour

Above all, wheat flour which is like sugar. Did you know that 2 slices of whole wheat bread increase blood sugar more than 2 tablespoons of table sugar?

Start the day with protein

Start the day with protein not starch or sugar. Try whole eggs, omega-3s, a protein shake, nut butter, etc., and avoid bagels, muffins, and donuts.

Eat protein with every meal. Try nuts like almonds, pecans, eat seeds like pumpkin, chia, or hemp, and eat beans, chicken, or fish.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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