Translating From Scientifical To English – 9 Conclusions From The Current Literature On Diets And Body Composition

By SOLO

Four days ago, International Society Of Sports Nutrition published an article, outlining their position on various diets and  body composition, based on a critical analysis of current literature.

Fun reading? You bet!
Intrigues, mysteries and plot twists? Not really.

When it comes to specific dietary approaches, macronutrient composition, eating styles and their influence on body composition, few things seem fairly certain.

9 Conclusions From The Current Literature On Various Diets And Body Composition

Here are NINE conclusions that Alan Aragon and fifteen (!) co-authors made based on the current literature and research available to date (and my translation of those from scientifical to English):

1) There is a multitude of diet types and eating styles, whereby numerous subtypes fall under each major dietary archetype.

There are many diets out there. Most of those diets fall into one of the few categories (the diets assessed by the review were: low calorie, low carb, ketogenic, high protein, and intermittent fasting). In other words, there aren’t really that many ways of losing weight or gaining weight, regardless of how many shiny packages you put the information into.

2) All body composition assessment methods have strengths and limitations.

Measuring someone’s body composition via weight, girth measurements, bicep circumference or any other measurement has some advantages and some disadvantages. For example, JUST using the weight as a measurement is very easy and accessible to most, and may be an appropriate choice for a client/individual who is seeking to lose large amounts of weight, however, for individuals with lower initial weight, and lower body fat percentages, including other measurements, may be more useful. In extra lean individuals, the weight may not be helpful at all, and switching to a more precise tool like DEXA is recommended.

3) Diets primarily focused on fat loss are driven by a sustained caloric deficit. The higher the baseline body fat level, the more aggressively the caloric deficit may be imposed. Slower rates of weight loss can better preserve lean mass (LM) in leaner subjects.

To lose fat, create caloric deficit. For higher levels of body fat that caloric deficit must be more significant, compared to those starting out at lower levels of body fat. Drastically cutting calories in already lean clients may lead to losing muscle mass, and is usually not desired.

4) Diets focused primarily on accruing LM are driven by a sustained caloric surplus to facilitate anabolic processes and support increasing resistance-training demands. The composition and magnitude of the surplus, as well as training status of the subjects can influence the nature of the gains.

To increase lean mass, you have to eat more than you expend, AND train with weights. The nature of the weight gain will depend on the make-up of those extra calories you consume. No, you won’t get that six pack, eating mostly Lucky Charms.

5) A wide range of dietary approaches (low-fat to low-carbohydrate/ketogenic, and all points between) can be similarly effective for improving body composition.

The specific diet does not matter – they can all help improve body composition (in most cases, lose fat and gain muscle).

6) Increasing dietary protein to levels significantly beyond current recommendations for athletic populations may result in improved body composition. Higher protein intakes (2.3–3.1 g/kg FFM) may be required to maximize muscle retention in lean, resistance-trained subjects under hypocaloric conditions. Emerging research on very high protein intakes (>3 g/kg) has demonstrated that the known thermic, satiating, and LM-preserving effects of dietary protein might be amplified in resistance-training subjects.

Eat protein. More protein. This is especially important to preserve muscle if you are also restricting calories, and if you are weight training.

7) The collective body of intermittent caloric restriction research demonstrates no significant advantage over daily caloric restriction for improving body composition.

Intermittent fasting is no better or worse for improving body composition than reducing calories across the span of the entire day.

8) The long-term success of a diet depends upon compliance and suppression or circumvention of mitigating factors such as adaptive thermogenesis.

Consistency will determine the diet’s success. The body’s energy expenditure WILL change with changing weight – this factor must be taken into account, if the diet is to continue being successful.

9) There is a paucity of research on women and older populations, as well as a wide range of untapped permutations of feeding frequency and macronutrient distribution at various energetic balances combined with training. Behavioral and lifestyle modification strategies are still poorly researched areas of weight management.

Most research is based on young male research participants, so more research, including female participants and older participants, is needed. There are still many diet variations that have been untested, especially when combined with training variations.


Like I said… no plot twists. African mango, coconut butter, bulletproof coffee and ketone supplements have not been mentioned.

Boooooring.

Kind of like all knowledge out there.

Hugs,
SOLO

*You can read the original article here.


Here are the 9 conclusions in my own words (aka in plain English):

1:  There are many diets out there. Most of those diets fall into one of the few categories. In other words, there aren’t really that many ways of losing weight or gaining weight, regardless of how many shiny packages you put the information into.

2:  Measuring someone’s body composition via weight, girth measurements, bicep circumference or any other measurement has some advantages and some disadvantages. For example, JUST using the weight as a measurement is very easy and accessible to most, and may be an appropriate choice for a client/individual who is seeking to lose large amounts of weight, however, for individuals with lower initial weight, and lower body fat percentages, including other measurements, may be more useful. In extra lean individuals, the weight may not be helpful at all, and switching to a more precise tool like DEXA is recommended.

3:  To lose fat, create caloric deficit. For higher levels of body fat that caloric deficit must be more significant, compared to those starting out at lower levels of body fat. Drastically cutting calories in already lean clients may lead to losing muscle mass, and is usually not desired.

4:  To increase lean mass, you have to eat more than you expend, AND train with weights. The nature of the weight gain will depend on the make-up of those extra calories you consume. No, you won’t get that six pack, eating mostly Lucky Charms.

5:  The specific diet does not matter – they can all help improve body composition (in most cases, lose fat and gain muscle).

6:  Eat protein. More protein. This is especially important to preserve muscle if you are also restricting calories, and if you are weight training.

7:  Intermittent fasting is no better or worse for improving body composition than reducing calories across the span of the entire day.

8:  Consistency will determine the diet’s success. The body’s energy expenditure WILL change with changing weight – this factor must be taken into account, if the diet is to continue being successful.

9:  Most research is based on young male research participants, so more research, including female participants and older participants, is needed. There are still many diet variations that have been untested, especially when combined with training variations.

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Posted June 18, 2017

One response to “Translating From Scientifical To English – 9 Conclusions From The Current Literature On Diets And Body Composition”

  1. […] fact: basically all weight-loss programs rely on consuming fewer calories over the course of a day than you burn. “A calorie is not a calorie” though, so this whole […]

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