The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recently published a new paper called: ISSN Position Stand: Diets and Body Composition. Essentially it’s a critical analysis of the current literature on how various diets and nutrition strategies impact body composition. The paper cuts through the nutrition myths that so many of us blindly accept as truths and provides clarity on the effects of various diets on body composition.

In terms of adding muscle and losing fat, here are the most enlightening messages from this robustly researched paper.

Fat loss

Fat loss requires you to burn more calories than you consume, creating what’s called a negative energy balance. Calories are stored as fat when the energy intake exceeds the amount of energy used. To reduce body fat, this must be reversed.

Hardly new news, but here’s the thing. The ISSN paper concluded that the employment of diets like Paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, Zone, Ornish, LEARN, or Intermittent Fasting (IF) and their individual emphasis on fat, protein or carbohydrate can be similarly effective for improving body composition. However, the authors were clear that there was “no significant advantage from any one nutrition strategy over daily caloric restriction for improving body composition”.

So don’t pin your hopes on reducing fat or carbs per se. It doesn’t really matter. Instead, what really matters says Christopher Gardner, a nutrition scientist and professor of medicine at Stanford University, and lead author of his most recent study DietFits, “was a change in subjects’ relationship to food that ultimately had them eating less calories”, hence reaching an energy deficit. “They didn’t eat in the car, they didn’t eat in the library, and they didn’t eat while they were walking. They went to farmers’ markets more, they cooked meals with their family.”

Lean muscle

The primary aim of most major diet archetypes is to induce rapid weight loss - losing anywhere between 1.0 -2.5 kgs per week, while preserving as much lean mass (muscle) as possible. According to the ISSN paper, resistance training has shown an impressive ability to augment the preservation of muscle and actually increase it even during very low energy diets in untrained and obese subjects.

Classic work by Lemon et al. was cited which showed that protein consumed at 1.6g per kilogram of body weight repeatedly outperformed the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of 0.8g per kilogram of body weight for preserving lean mass (primarily muscle) and reducing fat mass.

So what does this actually mean for an average bloke weighing 77 kg? 123 grams of protein over the course of a day. In real food terms, this would be equivalent to eating: for breakfast - 1 pottle of plain, low fat yoghurt and two boiled eggs providing a total 19.2 g of protein; for lunch - 1 can of tuna in spring water (100g) at 25.3 g protein, accompanied with a glass of trim milk at 10.1 g of protein; for dinner - 1 grilled lean beef fillet steak (135g), providing a walloping 38.2 grams of protein. And let’s not forget the post-workout protein shake after a high intensity workout that would contribute 30 grams of whey protein.

The evidence is unequivocal.

Adequate protein, resistance training and an appropriate rate of weight loss should be the primary focus for achieving lean mass (muscle) retention (or gain) during fat mass loss.

The new BodyTech Fat2Muscle™ Clean Eating Plan in conjunction with high intensity resistance training incorporates all the recommendations of the ISSN paper and will help you change your body composition from less fat to more muscle in the shortest time possible.

So why not add the new, soon to be released Fat2MUSCLE™ Clean Eating Plan to your fitness regime and experience the remarkable results for yourself. From next week it'll be available for only $59 for members, just ask at reception.