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What You Eat Matters

June 18, 2013

Approximately 60% of adult Americans are overweight, with half of those, or 30% being obese. One of the obvious causes is overeating. But a recent study showed that while weight gain is an issue, lean muscle mass should also be considered.

A new study looked at the impact of eating protein on weight gain and lean muscle mass. The study created three groups of adults and fed them diets that were either: low protein (5% of diet), normal protein (15% of diet) or high protein (25% of diet). The researchers then overfed all three groups to see how it would impact their weight and lean muscle mass.

They found that “overeating produced significantly less weight gain in the low protein diet group (an average of 7 lbs) compared with the normal protein diet group (who gained an average of 13.3 lbs.) or the high protein diet group (who gained an average 14.4 lbs).” Conversely, “body protein (lean muscle mass) did not increase during overfeeding with the low protein diet.” While lean muscle mass “increased significantly with the normal (an average gain of 6.3 lbs) and high protein (an average gain of 7 lbs) diets.”

While the normal and high protein groups gained more weight, a little math reveals that the additional weight was in lean muscle mass. All three groups gained the same amount of body fat. Ideally, a person should get regular exercise, consume the appropriate amount of calories and eat a higher amount of protein to gain lean muscle mass.

Read the Abstract

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