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Lipodystrophy and WastingLipodystrophy and Wasting
           
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trying hard
Oct 10, 2002

What is the correct weight and body fat percentage for a 5'4" medium-boned women with more than average muscle tone(from sports, exercise)?

Also, I was told a body can't absorb more than 20 grams of protein at one time, so the rest won't be utilized and will just be stored as fat. The best way, to really fight lipo and maximize fat burning and metabolism is 5-6 "mini meals" averaging 300-400 quality calories (lean protein, fruit, veg, and a little quality fat-avocado, flax, olives, etc.) What's you opinion?

How much weight loss a week is safe and will help for more proportional loss?

Finally regarding the "veiny calf" syndrome. Are the veins always just predominant on the front sides of the calves (where I seem to notice mine) or can they become veiny on the sides and back (like you see on bodybuilders-although for some reason it doesn't look bad to me on them, but there again because of their low body fat ALLOVER, their vascularity is also balanced. Thank you.

Response from Ms. Fields-Gardner

First, let's move away from the idea of "correct" and look at a range at which the body can fully function. We can calculate an "ideal body weight" for these stats at 120 pounds. The range allows us to account for individual differences seen in persons who are more muscular (heavier than fat)or a larger fram and less muscular or a smaller frame size. This range is approximately 108-132 pounds. The body fat that may be optimal for function is around 20-32% of appropriate weight. An athlete and thinner person may have the lower end of this range. If the fat level is too low or too high, hormonal changes can occur.

While fat-burning needs should be related to maintaining an appropriate amount of fat in the "right places," fat changes may be related to hormonal shifts. In HIV-infected persons, it is probably worth exploring a meal pattern to control any excessive insulin responses that can occur if insulin resistance is an issue. This type of diet includes "carbohydrate counting" which allows for a more even distribution of carbohydrates throughout the day. Keeping the calorie level a bit even is not a bad idea as well to make it so that you can use them up as you go a little more than storing excessive calories as fat.

As far as the protein issue goes, if your body can absorb protein, a 20 gram limit is unlikely to be real. You need to absorb calories for them to be stored. So, if you are malabsorbing protein, you cannot store it as fat. But, if you can absorb protein, there are a couple of issues to contemplate.

First, take in the amount of protein you are likely to need. Excessive protein intake without other forms of calories to be adequate means that you will lose the protein to use as calories. This can lead to some dehydration as your body attempts to rid itself of the extra nitrogen that is left over from using the carbon skeleton to supply calorie energy. It can also provide a little more challenge to the kidneys in the long-run that is necessary.

Second, taking in protein as a part of excessive calories favors fat deposition (which is fine if you need it and if it is deposited in the right places). This process also requires the body to get rid of the excess nitrogen that remains as the body turns excessive protein into calorie storage, leading to the same problems as noted above.

Much of the body's stored fat is under the skin. Fasting and a lot of aerobic exercise will diminish some of this. What you are talking about with veiny calves can be the result of short-term fasting that many body builders use to show off the muscle fibers. These fasts are generally short-term, particularly because the loss of such fat for a longer period can lead to adverse hormonal changes that don't support muscle building. In the case of altered body fat patterns as seen in chronic disease (there are others besides HIV), it may be more of a direct or indirect effect on hormonal changes that already exist. This is more of a medical problem than a cosmetic effect and you and your doctor should keep an eye on this type of problem.

I can't say that veiny calves appear in a certain way on everyone. There have been a number of presentations, including larger regional or even smaller and patchier areas of fat depletion.


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