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February 6, 2018

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Chapter 10; Body Composition and Physical Performance

Post 22 of 365

This is part 13 of my review in Layman's terms  of the book 'The Art and Science of Low carbohydrate Living' By Jeff S. Volek, PhD, RD & Stephen D. Phinney, MD, PhD




this chapter is looking at the capacity for humans to adapt to a carb restricted lifestyle , which in turns allows the complete sparing of lean tissue  and maintenance of physical performance. The aim is to loose excess body fat not the loss of muscle, hence scale weight is not the priority.


Why Body Composition is Important

Body composition is the body's relative proportions or content of fat mass and lean tissue. so ideally if weight loss is necessary the point is to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss. The reason for increased muscle is to contribute to metabolic health, this is more muscle equals greater tissue volume to take up blood glucose and more mitochondria that can burn fat! (In my 365 days of blogging and my alphabet headings when I get to M I will explain the mitochondria and how important it is for our energy).


Weight Loss and Body Composition

There are many variables in weight loss,including but not limited to,

  • level of calories and protein content

  • adequacy of mineral and vitamin intake

  • perhaps dietary carb intake

  • initial acitvity level

  • lean body mass content of each individual

  • type and amount of activity

  • net composition of the lost weight loss

  • Responses on body composition are impacted by change of diet, duration, quantity, quality, as well as the macro-nutrient make-up. This is why most studies done on diet (especially low carbohydrate diets) are to short which eventuates to a false negative result.

Dietary Macronutrient Distribution Affects Body Composition

With  looking at 87 studies (published studies on weight loss) it was established that the diets that were low carb had greater fat loss. This weight loss was independent of exercise and energy intake.The diet that had better than the average intake of protein helped with prevention of  loss of lean body mass. So its not about eating less its about the type and quantity of macro nutrients to help with weight loss.


Very Low Carbohydrate Diets and Body composition

In this section many studies are discussed, Volek showed that a hypo-caloric  very low carb diet resulted in up to a 2-fold greater whole body fat loss than a low fat diet with a similar prescribed energy intake..  There is also proof of a reduction in insulin and leptin level in subjects that reduced carb intake,  with even a  small reduction in insulin levels helps with fat mobilization.


Importance of Resistance Training for Building Muscle

In the studies looked at here it was established that resistance training alone without caloric restriction of carbs does not necessary end up with weight loss. Where as resistance training in combination with carb restriction aids in the maintenance of lean body tissue. 


Low Carbohydrate diets and Resistance training