Muscle Catabolism

Catabolism in living organisms is defined as the breakdown of complex molecules to form simpler ones. Most often this refers to the wasting of lean muscle tissue and should be avoided at all costs. Not only do you become weaker and more prone to injury, but your metabolism will slow down and can decrease the amount of calories burned at rest. This in turn can slow down your weight loss.

Bariatric patients are more prone to muscle wasting due to decreased consumption of protein over prolonged periods and insufficient resistance exercise which promotes muscle stimulation and growth. If you don’t use, you might lose! Recent studies found that at 12 months after surgery, 46-64% of patients were not meeting the minimum protein goal of 60g per day. Another study showed 57% of gastric bypass patients were still not meeting minimum protein goals 36 months after surgery (Figure 1). The current research on protein intake following bariatric surgery clearly shows that while practitioners likely assume that protein intake increases to prescribed goals as the patient progresses from surgery, the majority of patients do not ever reach the minimum daily protein goal, putting them at risk for long-term complications.

Lean muscle requires energy and effort to maintain. You can accomplish this with a balanced diet, reaching your protein goal every day and resistance training to maintain your muscle tissue. For tips please contact our dietitians and exercise specialists.