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06.05.2020


Combination of strength training and low carb diet relieves women of their body fat, costs muscle mass

If women who do weight training want to lower their fat percentage, then a low-carb diet may be an option for them. But if they want to build muscle mass and become stronger, a low-carbohydrate diet is less suitable. That is, if they go low carb like Spanish sports scientists at the University of Malaga in their study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Study
The researchers divided 21 women aged 23-31, who had been training for at least 2 years, into 2 groups. The women kept on working out, but one group was fed a low-carbohydrate diet with an average of only 40 grams of carbohydrate daily, while the other group continued to eat a more or less normal amount of carbohydrates.

The composition of both dietary patterns is shown below.


Combination of strength training and low carb diet relieves women of their body fat, costs muscle mass


Results
The women in the low-carbohydrate group [ketogenic diet; KD] lost 1100 grams of fat mass, but also lost 700 grams of lean body mass [say: muscle mass]. The women who continued to eat carbohydrates, [non-ketogenic diet; NKD], on the other hand, gained 700 grams of lean body mass, and also a bit of body fat.


Combination of strength training and low carb diet relieves women of their body fat, costs muscle mass


Both groups became stronger, but the increase in strength was significantly greater in the women with a normal amount of carbohydrates in their diet.

Conclusion
"A ketogenic may help to decrease fat mass and maintain fat-free mass after eight 8 weeks of resistance training in trained-women but is suboptimal for increasing fat-free mass", summarize the researchers.

Tiny bit of criticism
The researchers did not test how hard the women strained. So it could just be that the women in the low-carbohydrate group trained less intensively. The probability of this is not imaginary, because the researchers did not give the women time to adjust to their low-carbohydrate diet.

Both practical experience and some studies dindicate that many athletes who are used to a carbohydrate-rich diet need several weeks to several months to fully adapt to a low-carb diet.

Source:
J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2020 Apr 10;17(1):19.

More:
Study: low carb + strength training = big fat loss, no lean body mass loss 13.02.2011
Low-carb protein diet causes muscles to grow without training 13.08.2010
Study: low carb + strength training = big fat loss, no lean body mass loss 13.02.2011

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Low-carbohydrate diet for powerlifters: weight loss without losing strength After adaptation phase the low-carb athlete changes into a fat incinerator Is it better to combine a low-carb diet or a traditional slimming diet with strength training?

Low-carbohydrate diet for powerlifters: weight loss without losing strength
When powerlifters and Olympic weightlifters switch to a low-carbohydrate diet, they lose a few pounds of body weight without compromising their muscular strength.

After adaptation phase the low-carb athlete changes into a fat incinerator
Even at an intensity where their muscles can not derive their energy from fat according to the textbooks, adapted athletes mainly burn fat. American sports scientist Jeff Volek reported this in Metabolism in 2016.

Is it better to combine a low-carb diet or a traditional slimming diet with strength training?
When you combine a traditional weight-loss diet with strength training you lose just as much fat and retain just as much muscle mass as you would on a low-carb diet.