Nutrition & Health OnLine Magazine: Latest Research
 
LATEST RESEARCH
By Davey Dunn
 
CAN EXERCISE PREVENT MUSCLE LOSS WHEN DIETING?
A study published in Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise looked at the body composition effects of weight loss diets with and without exercise. In the study 35 overweight men were placed in either a control group or one of three diet groups: a diet-only group, a diet group that performed aerobic exercise three times per week; and a diet group that performed both aerobic and strength training three times per week. The results after 12 weeks showed that all three diet groups achieved a significant reduction in bodyweight however the diet only group also showed a significant reduction in fat-free mass. The study concluded that weight loss diets in conjunction with aerobic and resistance exercise will prevent the normal decline in fat-free mass and muscular power and helps improve body composition, maximal strength, and maximum oxygen consumption.
 
COMMENTARY: One interesting result from this study was the percent of fat mass lost by the three groups. The diet only group's fat loss comprised only 69% of the total weight lost. The diet and aerobics group was 78% fat. The diet and aerobic/strength training group was the best with 97% of the weight lost coming from fat. The point of weight loss should be to reduce body fat not lean body tissue. This study indicates that diet alone causes you to lose muscle. Even dieting combined with aerobic training still results in some muscle loss. To effectively lose predominately body fat you need to combine proper diet with aerobic and strength training.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS STUDY? When you go on a diet to achieve weight loss it is important that you also perform some exercise consisting of both aerobics and strength training in order to maximize fat loss and maintain muscle.
 
Kraemer, WJ. et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999 Sep;31(9):1320-9
 
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