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People forget how valuable muscle mass is to quality of life, longevity, and the ability to maximize energy. Certainly genetics and special conditions, such as thyroid issues, can come into play, but the overriding factor in both weight gain and metabolic rate is muscle mass. Unlike fat, muscle is a high-maintenance tissue. It's in constant use by the body, and as such it requires a lot of energy to keep it in good working order. This helps explain why lean, more muscular people have an easier time burning calories at rest than do people with higher proportions of body fat. Muscle burns calories, whereas fat just stores them.
Preserving lean muscle mass is important during all weight loss programs. Muscle helps amp up your metabolism and provides tone and definition to your body. To avoid declines in resting metabolism you should avoid starvation diets that could lead to wasting of muscle and instead build and maintain muscle for active living. Maintaining muscle mass is particularly important during aging because some of the decline in resting metabolism associated with age is caused by a decline of muscle.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.