To burn fat without losing muscle, base your meals on a healthy source of protein. And add resistance exercise to your workout routine. Recent research published in the Journal of Nutrition confirms this common-sense approach.
Researchers at the University of Illinois divided 48 obese women into two groups. One group was put on a high-protein diet. The other group consumed more carbohydrates. (Both diets had the same number of calories.) Both groups walked several times a week. But the high-protein group added two sessions of resistance exercise.
When the study concluded, the high-protein group had lost an average of 22 pounds — almost all of it from fat. The women on the high-carb diet lost 15 pounds, and more than two pounds of it — 15 percent — was from muscle.
Dr. Donald Layman, the author of the study, summed it up this way: “Both diets work because, when you restrict calories, you lose weight. But the people on the higher-protein diet lost more weight. There’s an additive, interactive effect when a protein-rich diet is combined with exercise. The two work together to correct body composition; dieters lose more weight, and they lose fat, not muscle.”
Take Home Points:
- Both groups restricted calories and walked (cardio)
- The group on higher carbs and cardio only not only lost less weight, but lost lean muscle
- The group that ate higher protein and strength trained lost more fat, and kept their muscle (metabolism)
The science part of my brain complains that the study changed 2 variables – protein And resistance exercise – so we don’t know which one did what. The realist in me says – Who Cares – adding protein and strength training gets Better Results than restricting calories and doing endless cardio.
What are good sources of protein?
- Extra Lean Meat (extra lean sirloin cuts or 93% or higher extra lean ground beef)
- Extra Lean Deli Cuts (unsweetened, low in salt)
- Extra Lean Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts
- Extra Lean Turkey or Extra Lean Ground Turkey
- Extra Lean Pork
- Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Tilapia, etc.
- Seafood: Shrimp, Mussels, Squid, Scallops, etc.
You can also use some dairy like cottage cheese and cage free eggs. For convenience you can also use Whey Protein Powder (this one is sweetened with stevia instead of nasty artificial sweeteners).