Protein is also important for preserving muscle mass as you lose weight. If you cut back dramatically on calories and drop weight too fast, your muscles can suffer. Your body starts pulling from lean tissue like muscles and organs to fuel itself, and your metabolism slows to conserve energy. That’s why super restrictive diets that have you dropping weight fast aren’t healthy over the long run.
If you eat too few calories, you may lose muscle and your metabolism can decrease.3 You will also have less energy to exercise. In other words, your body will fight you to conserve energy, burn fewer calories, and make you feel extremely hungry so you eat more.4 In addition, the quality of the calories you eat and your lifestyle choices affect this calorie balance equation by making you more or less hungry and increasing or decreasing the number of calories you burn.
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