Obviously the lady who posted that, must have followed the link on a Thursday - in fact one of those Thursday's, where Adelfo was raving about how "disgusting" he wants his muscle to look on the day of his competition. And yes, it may be true that - especially the ladies - probably have slightly different concerns than muscles, which do not look disgusting enough, but the results of a recently published study that was conducted by scientists from the University of Sherbrooke in Québec, Canada, show that even the fair sex could learn a lot from the way Adelfo plans and tweaks his contest prep diet - first and foremost that slow and steady and not rapid and abrupt is the way to go, when you want to make sure that you don't just lose weight, but also see the gratifying results in the mirror, as well.
If you want to get lean and stay lean, you better diet down slowly
What is particularly interesting about the trial, the results of which M. Sénéchal et al. describe in their paper (Sénéchal. 2012) is that they have amazing practical value. After all, the only advice the scientists gave the 23 obese women, who participated in the trial, were ...
- reduce the initial body weight by at least 5% and, unfortunately,
- eat a "healthy" diet containing 55%, 30% and 15% of the caloric intake from carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, respectively.
Rapid vs. slow - biggest loser vs. leanest winner?
I guess if this study had been part of the Biggest Loser TV show, the ladies in the "slow" weight loss group would already have been voted out before they had made it to the -5% body weight weight-loss limit. After all "fast", "rapid" and "immediate" are what everyone is looking for these days and "slow" and "steady" is for the real, not the "biggest losers" - right?
|Figure 1: Prescribed macronutrient composition, identical for all subjects (left), and average caloric deficit (in kcal /day) in the rapid weight loss and slow weight loss groups (right, data based on Sénéchal. 2012)|
|Figure 2: Reductions in weight, waist circumference, total and compartmental fat mass expressed relative to daily kcal deficit in the rapid and slow weight loss groups; relative difference in effect sizes slow vs. rapid (in %) are indicated right above the individual bars (data calculated based on Sénéchal. 2012)|
Losing slow = losing steady = losing healthy = winning in the long run
If we also take into consideration that the "slow losers" experienced greater reductions in blood pressure and a 4x higher reduction in triglycerides (probably a way better marker of overall health than the likewise reduced levels of total cholesterol), it stands to reason that "starving the fat away" is no viable option, regardless of whether you are obese and trying to get down to a healthier weight, or whether you are a competitive bodybuilder who wants his muscle to shine in all their "disgusting" glory. References:
- Sénéchal, Martin, et al. "Effects of rapid or slow weight loss on body composition and metabolic risk factors in obese postmenopausal women. A pilot study." Appetite 58.3 (2012): 831-834.