Whether you love to be the fountain of all knowledge among your gym buddies or simply like to know what’s going on in the world of sport and nutrition science, we’re here with this week’s studies to bring you important information on how to get the most from your health and fitness.
This week we’re looking at which protein is the best for building muscle and how long you should fast for weight loss — that’s if you fast at all, of course. So, strap in and get ready to learn something new.
Soy, wheat, or animal protein?
The question that everyone seems to be asking over the past couple of years — can you really build muscle from the protein you get in plants and is it as effective? Well, according to this week’s study, you might want to rethink your diet before you settle for soy.
Researchers conducted human trials as to whether the soy and wheat protein were as potent for muscle building as animal proteins to combat muscle loss through aging. They found that the participants had to eat a higher amount of the plant proteins to have a similar muscle building response to eating animal protein.
The researchers used several techniques to measure changes in the participants’ muscles, including blood sampling and muscle biopsies to see how quickly muscles were built from amino acids provided by the different protein sources.
The researchers, however, don’t think that this is the end of it and will be conducting research into the muscle building capabilities of other plant-based protein sources, such as oats and quinoa.
So, if you want to maintain muscle as you age while remaining on a plant-based diet, this study reckons you simply need to eat more protein. That doesn’t sound too bad, does it?
Fasting for weight loss: how long?
If you’ve read anything about dieting recently, then you will have read about intermittent fasting. While any diet can work if you eat less calories than you eat in a day, some find that restricting the time in a day that you have to eat can make this easier. So, how long, according to science, do you need to fast for to lose weight?
A study carried out in the US compared the weight loss of participants on a 4-hour time restricted feeding diet and a 6-hour time-restricted feeding diet with a control group. This meant that the 4-hour group could eat between 1pm and 5pm and the 6-hour group could eat between 1pm and 7pm.
During this time, participants weren’t restricted at all in what they could and couldn’t eat and outside of this time, they could only drink water or calorie-free drinks. The control group had to maintain their weight and not alter their diet.
These diets were then followed for 10 weeks during which weight and other markers were measured. The results were pretty surprising too.
Both of the daily fasting groups reduced their calorie intake by around 550 calories a day simply by eating within the specified hours. They also lost around 3% of their bodyweight on average.
Could you stick to a diet like this?
Take home message
We’ve gone through some interesting studies this week for both building muscle and losing weight. Remember that everyone’s different and what works for someone else may not work for you. So (sensibly) test things out and most of all make sure your nutrition and training suits your lifestyle.
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