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Catabolic means breakdown of complex molecules with production of energy

Catabolic is a technical term in biology. It has to do with those processes in the body that break down larger molecules into smaller ones.

When you metabolize protein, fat and carbohydrate by breaking them down into smaller units you make energy. These are catabolic processes, and when they occur it is called catabolism.

Catabolism and diet

The food you eat must be broken down for your body to use it.

Large proteins are broken down into amino acids. Carbohydrates are broken into simple sugars. Long chain fats are broken down and used for energy.

When this occurs there is a release of energy and that is the energy your body uses to do things.

Without catabolism you wouldn't have the energy to climb the stairs or even tie your shoes. So catabolism is necessary. But it can be taken too far and it becomes harmful.

Harmful effects of dieting

When you get sick your body becomes catabolic and starts to break down. You feel weak. You have no energy. Your metabolism suffers.

The same thing happens on fad diets and crash diets that make you lose weight too fast.

When you diet to excess catabolism starts to consume your healthy tissue for energy. When this happens you lose good lean mass.

Excess catabolism and weight gain

Loss of lean mass makes you feel weak. It lowers your overall metabolic rate. So you don't need as many calories.

Without the lean mass you don't burn up energy as fast. You tend to feel weak. Hungry. Tired. And depressed.

And since the processes with build the body -- called the anabolic processes -- have become weaker through excess dieting, you now have trouble rebuilding. So when you eat you don't rebuild the body, but you store the calories as fat.

This is why only healthy diets are successful with long-term weight loss. And why crash diets and fad diets doom you to failure.

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

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These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

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