Rarely does an article include specific and useful information on exercise and diet as a part of a weight-loss program and the impact on muscle. However, I found this article really useful and informative on these topics.
- Cava E, Yeat NC, Mittendorfer B Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss123. Adv Nutr. May 5, 2017;8(3):511-519. doi:10.3945/an.116.014506. PMCID: PMC5421125. PMID: 28507015.
They mentioned that:
- Although people with obesity have more fat mass than lean people, they also have more fat free mass (including muscle), but poor muscle quality; Excess fat mass is associated with poor muscle quality, which adversely affects physical function.
- Weight-loss reduces muscle mass without adversely affecting muscle strength and improves global physical function, most likely because of reduced fat mass;
- Adding exercise (endurance and resistance type) to a hypocaloric diet helps preserve muscle mass during weight loss, and resistance-type exercise also improves muscle strength;
- High protein intake helps preserve lean body and muscle mass, but does not improve muscle strength and could have adverse effects on metabolic function.
Conclusion: Weight-loss therapy, including a hypocaloric diet with adequate (but not excessive) protein intake, and physical activity, particularly resistance exercise–type training, should be promoted to maintain muscle mass and improve muscle strength and physical function in persons with obesity.
The article emphasizes:
- Resistance-type exercise training and high protein intake (1.25-1.5 times the RDA for sedentary and 1.5 times the RDA for those who exercise).
- They would likely benefit from increased protein intake to complement the increased exercise.
- Resistance exercise helps to maintain muscle mass during calorie restriction and improve strength; endurance exercise does not help maintain muscle or improve strength…during calorie restriction.
Recommendations from 2 Cases:
- Increasing protein intake will likely benefit lean body mass during weight loss.
- A protein intake of >1.5 times the RDA for those who exercise (>1.2g/kg) is recommended.
- Whey contains leucine, which has been shown to be readily incorporated into muscle and combined with resistance training leads to muscle mass preservation.
- Protein intake that is evenly distributed throughout the day may prevent the loss of muscle mass during weight loss.
So, integrating an exercise routine alongside changes to diet can help maintain muscle mass and improve muscle strength; both of which can have a positive overall effect on the person’s health.
Education on this and all methods of weight-loss therapy is key in changing the tide of this obesity epidemic. That is why we provide continuing medical education for both medical students and professionals in the area of obesity. Being well-informed, both from a provider and patient perspective, can help change the health outcomes of our population.