Articles on a variety of subjects that are of interest to those following Dr. Peter D'Adamo's writings and research.
Eat Right and Burn Fat While Building Muscle
Building Balanced Muscle Tone-Naturally
The Blood Type Diet offers much more than weight loss. And achieving your body's ideal weight is more than just losing fat.
With the Blood Type Diet, losing weight may be a happy side effect for some but it is not the main point. The primary weight-related benefit is that this diet helps your body find and maintain it's ideal weight. For some, this means losing weight, naturally. For others, this may involve gaining or retaining muscle.
Achieving a healthy weight is about achieving the right balance of lean muscle to healthy body fat. Did you know that just having more muscle causes your body to burn more calories while at rest than does being thinner with less muscle?
Is Muscle Loss Inevitable with Age?
As we age, we tend to lose muscle-which is much more likely if you're not eating a diet rich in muscle-building nutrients right for your blood type. One study revealed that women over the age of 35, for example, lose muscle mass at a rate of roughly one-third to one-half a pound each year.
Keys to Building and Maintaining Muscle
Much of the research done on the relationship between aging and muscle loss often leaves diet out of the equation. Some studies go as far as assuming no relationship between muscle proteins and the raw materials from our diets that continually feed and build those muscles. As the muscle protein content of muscles diminish the muscles become fatigued more easily. This leads to a sedentary lifestyle. If this slow-down in activity-and hence, muscle metabolism-isn't reversed through changes in diet and exercise, then excessive muscle loss is the result. When our body is working properly, we build muscle mass naturally through daily activity and regular exercise-combined with diet.
One of the body's natural cycles involves occasionally breaking muscle proteins down to be used for energy, a process called "protein turnover."
The body is in a continuous cycle of anabolic (muscle building) and catabolic (breaking muscle down). The body seeks a natural balance between these two alternating processes-with a preference towards anabolic. We literally feed and encourage either of these states mostly through the dietary choices we make.
Many people on typical "weight loss" diets are under the mistaken impression that eating "light" meals, or eating fewer and smaller meals during the day can help them lose weight. The reverse is actually true.
Studies reveal that the weight one loses along with any temporary fat loss is typically muscle. Severely-curtailed low-calorie diets can cause the body to go into "starvation and conservation" mode. These kinds of diets or even long periods during the day without eating can actually create a catabolic state of muscle burning to conserve energy. As Dr. D'Adamo explains, muscle is metabolically active tissue, requiring a great deal of caloric energy just to maintain it. "Maintaining a high percentage of active tissue is particularly important when you are trying to lose weight. With diets that severely restrict calories, you may lose weight but also lose muscle tissue. Since these diets do nothing to increase active tissue mass, your metabolic rate remains unchanged or declines, leaving you predisposed to regain the weight you lost (or perhaps more) as soon as you resume normal eating."
This is due to several reasons: With fewer meals, the body slows its metabolism, making the food we do eat harder to metabolize. The more frequent, smaller, nutrient-rich meals we eat, the more efficient the metabolism becomes! In fact, this has been measured. Using our resting (basal) metabolism as the starting point, the additional caloric expenditure that it takes to digest, absorb, and process the food you eat is called "The Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF)."
Not surprisingly, different foods have different effects on TEF, which gives us just one more reason knowing the best foods for your blood type. One significant study demonstrated that during the normal six-hour resting metabolism period, we typically burn about 270 calories. When eating a single meal of carbohydrates alone or fat alone, the energy burned during this six-hour period reached 290 calories (an additional 20 calories). Interestingly, when eating protein alone the subjects in this study burned 310 calories during this six hour period (an additional 40 calories). It appears, protein alone had double the thermogenic potential over fat or carbs alone!
Eat More Protein More Often
The body requires protein to maintain and build muscle. How much protein is right for you? Your Blood Type Diet is the ideal guide to not only the perfect protein sources ideally suited for you, but also the ideal amounts. Refer to the diet charts in Live Right 4 Your Type. Generally, studies show that smaller meals, spaced 2-3 hours apart, with a quality protein source in each mini-meal, provides the muscle tissue the nutrition they require to thrive.
But don't overdo it. We know exercise and weight resistance is a key to fat loss and muscle building. You may have a great exercise routine-but do you eat to exercise? Do your meals and snacks support your exercise, or fight it? Your body needs food energy when you exercise or it will actually burn muscle as you work out, which seems to defeat the purpose. Be sure your body has plenty of high quality carbohydrate fuel (for energy) and protein fuel to support your workouts-with food sources right for your type.
In addition to complex carbs, try these tips for exercise energy:
For nutrients to build muscle
Want to Gain Weight?
Dr. D'Adamo explains that gaining healthy weight means building muscle. Following your Blood Type Diet on its own will provide the proper muscle-building raw materials for you if your routine includes progressive weight lifting two or three times per week, working the upper body in one session and the lower body in the next.
But what does Blood Type have to do with exercise?
Elevated catecholamines (adrenaline and nor-adrenaline) are more characteristic of type O's when under stress and vigorous exercise is preferred. Typically, yoga is insufficient for type O's to maintain active tissue. However yoga is effective at lowering cortisol, which is generally a type A stress response. So, should Type O avoid yoga? No, if it is part of an exercise regimen that also includes sufficient cardio and some resistance training, then yoga can be practiced by type O's as well.
It is possible to get too much of a good thing. For most of us, staying on a healthy program of exercise is a continuous goal. But for others, those exercise endorphins kick in, and they can seek that muscle "pump" and rush of feel-good hormones with over-exercise. Over exertion can tip the scales into a catabolic muscle burning state, defeating the purpose.
Supplement Your Blood Type Diet
Get the most out of not only your exercise, but even your regular daily activity. Supplementation, in addition to exercise, can help even the 'average joe' increase lean muscle, maintain healthy weight, lose unhealthy fat, feel and look better:
- Prevent Muscle Loss
- Increase blood flow to muscles throughout the day, not just during exercise - carrying the vital nutrients to muscles for repair and growth
- Help Maintain Healthy levels of testosterone
- Enhance your body's ability to control and eliminate excess estrogen
A Few Muscle-Specific Nutrients
What is Your Ideal Weight
- N-acetyl Cysteine may help to preserve muscle glutamine levels, facilitating muscle growth. One study showed that NAC prevents the catabolism of muscle proteins in persons who undertake isotonic exercise. (Found in the Redoxa formula).
- Calcium D-glucarate is a form of glucaric acid, which among other things, is utilized in the body to enhance the process by which the body rids itself of excess steroid hormones such as estrogen and testosterone. (Found in Dr. D'Adamo's Detoxical-D formula.)
- Nitric Oxide Enhancement is often recommended by trainers and professional athletes. It increases blood flow to working muscles to promote muscle growth, increases strength, speeds muscle recovery and sustains long lasting blood flow to the muscles. Researchers also believe that NO is active in regulating activities of the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, and the immune system. Nitric Oxide is a "signaling molecule." For example, it can tell the body to make blood vessels relax and widen. When NO is produced by the innermost cell layer of the arteries, the endothelium, it rapidly spreads through the cell membranes to the underlying muscle cells. Their contraction is turned off by NO, resulting in a dilatation of the arteries. (Found in Dr. D'Adamo's Nitricycle formula.)
- Aromatase Inhibition Interesting new research areas in muscle health is the role of hormones in the process. For example, in men, aromatase activity increases with age, converting what little testosterone is left into estrogen. In women, most of the research on aromatase inhibitors addresses the treatment of clinical conditions known to be linked with excess estrogen production or sensitivity.
Aromatase inhibitors are used by the bodybuilding community to increase lean muscle mass and decrease body fat. Maintain healthy hormone levels naturally and increase lean muscle while decreasing body fat. (Found in Dr. D'Adamo's Aromastat formula.) Dr. D'Adamo also recommends Quercetin for additional aromatase inhibition.
- Cortisol Modulation Cortisol's primary action involves increasing blood sugar levels at the expense of muscle tissue. On a chronic basis it will lead to insulin resistance and an alteration in body composition from muscle to fat. In addition, research shows that high cortisol tends to increase your appetite. As a general rule, when you are overweight you will have chronically elevated levels of cortisol. Fat tissue accelerates the production of cortisol, and high levels of cortisol promote weight gain. Cortiguard was developed by Dr. D'Adamo especially for Types A and B, but can be supplemental for all types. Type A typically exhibits excess cortisol production during times of occasional stress.
Body mass index (BMI) is a simple measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to both adult men and women. Your BMI is an objective scientific measure that uses your height and weight.
You can calculate your BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms by the square of your height in meters. For Americans and other folks who are non-metric, you'll have to do some simple conversions, so grab a calculator:
To calculate BMI:
- To convert height in inches to height in meters, divide by 39.37. For a 72 inch tall man, the height in meters (72/39.37) is 1.82
- To convert pounds to kilograms, divide the total number of pounds by 2.2. For a 150 pound man, the weight in kilograms (150/2.2) is 68.1
Weight categories associated with BMI ranges for adults are shown below:
- Multiply the height in meters by itself (in our example 1.82 x 1.82 = 3.31)
- Divide that into the weight in kilograms: (in our example 68.1/ 3.31 =20.5)
- The BMI for that individual is 20.5
|18.5 - 24.9
|25.0 - 29.9
|30.0 and above
The BMI is a useful indicator of weight status in most people, but for certain folks, such as athletes, it is too simplistic, as it assumes all extra weight is fat - however in athletes the extra weight is often muscle instead. Adding a waist circumference gives a bit more clarity to the picture, since waist girth is almost always fatty tissue. You may also go to your doctor, or to your gym and have your percent body fat measured. This will tell you how much of your body is composed of lean muscle and bone versus fat. Both of these are good indicators of weight as a health risk.
Some tip the scales too far in one direction by over-consuming protein. Good quality carbohydrates--right for your blood type--help the body to better utilize the protein you eat.