New York: Canadian researchers have found new dietary regimen for losing fat while gaining muscle, an oft-debated problem for those trying to manage their weight, control calories and balance protein consumption.
The study has established that it is possible to achieve both -- muscles and lose fat quickly and at the same time, the researchers, from the McMaster University in Ontatrio, Canada, said.
For the study, 40 young men underwent a month of hard exercise while cutting dietary energy they would normally require by 40 percent of what they would normally require.
"These guys were in rough shape, but that was part of the plan. We wanted to see how quickly we could get them into shape: Lose some fat, but still retain their muscle and improve their strength and fitness," said Stuart Phillips, a professor at McMaster.
Exercise, particularly lifting weights, provides a signal for muscle to be retained even when you're in a big calorie deficit, the research, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, revealed.
However, the researchers cautioned that this regimen is not for everyone.
The researchers divided their subjects into two groups. Both groups went on a low calorie diet, one with higher levels of protein than the other.
The higher-protein group experienced muscle gains -- about 2.5 pounds -- despite consuming insufficient energy, while the lower protein group did not add muscle.
The high-protein group also lost more body fat.
The results showed that the high-protein group lost about 10.5 pounds and the low protein group only eight pounds.