Daily tip #4| Burning muscle

Burning muscle. Sounds scary, huh? Has anyone ever told you that you might be doing it? Let me explain..

Okay, so, let's begin with the basics. The order in which your body uses energy is : Glucose -> Glycogen -> Fat -> Protein. The main energy source is 'glucose' and 'glycogen'. Your fat is used as the next energy source. The body rarely IF ever breaks down the protein for energy. So, basicaly, the body uses glucose as a primary energy source. Your body gets glucose by breaking down carbohydrates from your meal.

Now, if your body doesn't use up all of the glucose which you acquired, it gets stuffed (stored) down in your liver. The glucose stored in your liver is then called glycogen.Your glycogen reserves can last about six hours. After you run out of glycogen, your body starts breaking down fats to use them as energy.

And what about protein? Well, lets say you are starving, your fat and glycogen reserves are dry, what happens then? Muscle now? No. Your body then begins to synthesize ketone bodies from what's called 'fatty acid breakdown'.

This will be used to fuel your brain, you know, to keep you atleast breathing (~70% fuel used solely for your brain). And at last.. Your body begins to break down and use protein. The protein will be converted to glucose, by your liver. This protein will come from your muscles and organs.

Now.. Do you see how much you'd have to go through before your muscles would start burning? Approx. 7 to 21 days of starving, depending on how much fat you have stored.

So, if you plan on attending a plane crash, you better start packing that fat up, and if not, do not worry about this myth of 'burning muscle'.


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