|Even in lean athletes dieting does not have to cost muscle mass.|
In the course of the four-week cutting period in the study at hand, the subjects, 20-35 year-old national and international level Finnish track and field male athletes from jumping and short distance running events (e.g. 100-200m) with already low body fat percentages lost another ~2% body fat, and no muscle in spite of a highly significant 750kcal/day deficit.
In contrast to the guys who had been randomized to the "high energy deficit" group, the guys who ended up in 300kcal/day deficit group aka the"afraid of losing muscle group", lost neither muscle nor fat weight - and I bet, they did not feel significantly less hungry.
|Figure 1: Changes in body fat and lean mass in grams (Huovinen. 2014)|
|Figure 2: Pre- and post protein, fat and carbohydrate intake (in g/kg/day) according to subjects' food logs which had to be kept for the whole study period (Huovinen. 2014)|
"The counter-movement jump and 20-m sprint time improved consistently (p ≤ 0.05) only in HWR (-700kcal/day), by 2.6 ± 2.5 cm and 0.04 ± 0.04 s, respectively. Finally, athletes with a fat percentage 10% or over at the baseline were able to preserve FFM." (Huovinen. 2014)Whether that's also the reason that the scientists did not observe significant differences in serum testosterone in either of the two groups is questionable (Testosterone / cortisol: 33.6 (pre) vs. 38.3 (post)), though - especially in view of previous results like those I wrote about in the following two articles:
- "High or Low Protein Intakes Have Profound Influence on Testosterone, SHBG, Estrogen, Cortisol & Co?" (learn more) and
- "High Protein Diets Don't Counter Anti-Anabolic Effects of Low Energy Intake" (learn more)
- Huovinen et al. "Body Composition And Power Performance Improved After Weight Reduction In Male Athletes Without Hampering Hormonal Balance." Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research Publish Ahead of Print DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000619