BCAAs – or branched chain amino acids – are right there, on your dinner plate.
They’re present in your steak or your roast chicken, and they’re also on the shelves of your local health store. They’re tucked away, usually in the muscle building section. But we believe they should be front-and-centre of the fat loss section instead.
1. They shrink your appetite
A study released by the University of Texas Medical Branch (December 2012, the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism) showed that BCAAs have an effect on both insulin sensitivity and interact with the brain chemical serotonin to reduce cravings and hunger.
How do BCAAs do this? These amino acids generate the gluconeogenic (production of glycogen from non-carbohydrate sources) precursors glutamine and alanine, which have a balancing effect on blood sugar.
In fact, another study (March 2011, study conducted by Gualano, et al) investigated the effect of BCAAs on exercise performance and energy metabolism in glycogen-depleted athletes. And it found that three days of supplementation with high doses of BCAA resulted in increased fat oxidation and exercise performance.
2. They halt muscle breakdown
Most of us follow a simple formula to lose body fat: Reduce our calorie intake and train intensely. But there may not be enough calories from our food (or from stored body fat) to fuel the more intense workouts. The result: Gluconeogenesis – the body burns up between 5% and 10% of our muscle tissue, for energy. Over time, this can decrease your basal metabolic rate (BMR), causing weight gain.
If you supplement with BCAAs before or during exercise, your body will spare your muscle tissue and use up the BCAAs instead! This will allow you to maintain your fat loss regimen, without sacrificing healthy muscle or your BMR.
3. They make you NOT feel tired
BCAAs have the ability to decrease perceived exertion during a workout, which means you can work harder for longer while in an energy depleted state.
Scientists have found that BCAAs not only help to produce energy in the body; they also interfere with the production of ammonia and lactic acid in muscles, which cause fatigue and limit performance.
So if you’re trying to train harder, for longer, to get that summer body, stock up BCAAs.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.