[SCIENCE CORNER: MONUMENTAL FAT LOSS SERIES!] ==========================================
INTRODUCTION AND VARIOUS DIET TYPES
MECHANISMS FOR FAT LOSS AND MUSCLE PRESERVATION
>>> DIET COMPOSITION AND INCREASING LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE <<<
RANGE OF EFFECTIVE APPROACHES FOR BODY COMPOSITION
PROTEIN, WEIGHT LOSS AND WEIGHT GAIN
DIET COMPOSITION AND INCREASING LEAN MUSCLE TISSUE
Regardless of whether our present goal is to increase lean muscle tissue and therefore total body weight, or to lose weight, either way the preservation of lean muscle tissue is of uttermost importance.
By now you will have already read about the negative effect of losing lean muscle tissue on your ability to lose weight and maintain this weight loss, your basal metabolic rate will decrease as a result making it trickier to not only lose weight from this point onward, but to keep it off too.
Weight loss, with higher % of lean muscle tissue within the body is always the gold standard!
There is a debate within the world of nutrition over the formation of lean muscle tissue, and how best to set up the diet to facilitate this process, regarding in particular the total calorie intakes, deficit vs surplus, and the ideal total amounts of protein to consume also.
It has been repeatedly show that consuming double (1.6g per kg per day) the current recommended daily allowance (0.8 g per kg per day) of protein is more successful for preserving muscle tissue whilst in a calorie deficit.
The research also suggests that spacing the protein consumption into 4-6 relatively equal chunks throughout the day further increases the amount of lean muscle tissue preservation in a deficit, and also lean muscle growth in a calorie surplus.
Proteins break down into amino acids, and one of those amino acids is of particular importance- Leucine. This amino acid is special for 2 reasons, not only does it act as one of the building blocks for muscle tissue creation, but it also acts as a SIGNAL to the body to start working on building muscle when consumed.
This is probably why spreading the same amount of protein into 4-6 meals is more beneficial than say 2-3 meals, as more meals = more ‘signals’ to grow!
Nutrition intakes with higher percentages of protein intakes have found to also better preserve resting energy expenditure due to the amount of energy it takes to digest it. Out of all the macronutrients it has been found to be the most ‘satiating’ of all (Which basically means consuming it makes you have that ‘full’ feeling much quicker) leading it to be an absolute priority for anyone on a weight loss/ body composition journey!
Some people do take protein intakes to the extreme, and this is not necessary. One study found that consuming 4.4g per kg body mass per day (A ridiculously huge amount!!) had no statistical benefit over consuming 1.8g per kg of body mass, showing that all that additional energy consumed from the surplus protein could have been much better used elsewhere in the form of fats and carbohydrates, and still have the same if not better effect on muscle growth.
On the topic of carbs and fats, the type of fats seem to have an effect on fat storage within the body. Groups that consumed higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids whilst in a calorie appeared to store less fat than other groups who consumed the same but from saturated fat sources. The composition of fats within the diet needs more investigation, but for health purposes and results purposes it seems logical to reduce both saturate fat and trans fat intakes, and focus primarily on mono and polyunsaturated fat intakes (So healthy fats basically, like avocado and oily fish!)
Additional manipulations in carbohydrate composition doesn’t seem to play much of a part in further effectively increasing muscle tissue creation, but lower intakes could lead to an increase in fatigue/tiredness during training.
In summary, although it is possible to increase lean muscle tissue whilst in a calorie deficit, restricting the energy available to support the demands of adaptation is not the best way to go. A small calorie surplus is the best way to optimise lean muscle gains, consuming between 1.2 – 1.8 g per kg body mass per day, and spreading this out into 4-6 meals seems to be the best way. Be careful as a larger calorie surplus can lead to unwanted fat gains too, at which point this should be individually monitored as everyone is different in this aspect !
Hope you found this section interesting team!! Let me know your thoughts on this, and looking forward to the next science corner instalment!