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Intermittent Fasting Increases Fat Loss but Preserves Muscle Mass, Strength and Muscle Area

December 27, 2016

Intermittent fasting leads to greater fat mass loss, but preservation of fat free mass, muscle area and strength in resistance trained males πŸ‹
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Very recent study by Moro and colleagues (2016) showing that restricting eating times to 3 meals over an 8hr period and fasting for 16hrs may be a beneficial strategy for athletes looking to lose body fat πŸ’ͺ
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There are a few points that I find quite interesting about this study. But primarily, protein distribution across the day does not appear to be that important for hypertrophy. However, both the fasting and normal groups consumed only 3 meals each day. Granted the fasting group ate their meals in close proximity, compared to the normal group, the timing between meals (~4hrs) falls in line with the refractory period of feeding-stimulated muscle protein synthesis. Therefore, it's likely that, although the timing between meals was quite different between groups (~4hrs vs. ~5-7hrs), both groups would have "optimally" stimulated muscle protein synthesis at each meal. Bearing that in mind, I would necessarily expect there to be any differences between groups for fat-free mass or measures of strength or muscle area πŸ’ͺ
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I would have liked to see a normal diet more representative of a resistance-training athlete e.g. 4-6 meals / protein feedings a day. Whether or not that would result in any differences is yet to be elucidated πŸ€”
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The second point I find interesting is that although both groups were in estimated energy balance, the intermittent fasting group lost a significant amount of body fat. There are potential biological mechanisms as to why this might be the case, e.g. increased concentrations of adiponectin. But there were not differences between groups when normalised for body fat loss πŸ“‰
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Really interesting study, and again with any study, more research in this area needs to be done. But pretty cool research nonetheless! You can read the full study here: http://translational-medicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12967-016-1044-0 πŸ‘ˆ

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