By Gabe Sanders PhD, NSCA-CSCS
Spring is here! By now, many of us are either well into our weight loss program or you have fallen off the new year's resolution to lose weight altogether. Just remember that any time is a great time to start back up with exercise and eating right. So if you find yourself wanting to lose weight, think about losing pure body fat and not lean tissue like muscle. The goal of losing weight is to lose purely fat and not muscle. However, most of the time, you will lose some muscle with fat. At least that used to be the thought process by many health experts.
A recent study found that consuming a high protein, leucine, and vitamin-D diet can help you increase your strength and functional movement and still lose body fat. The researchers found that the sixty-three-year-old people in the study that consumed a high protein, leucine, and vitamin-D diet did not lose significant amounts of muscle mass either. This is great news since consuming more protein, leucine and supplementing with vitamin-D is not that difficult.
What is leucine?
Leucine is simply an essential amino acid that can be taken as a supplement or ingested in whole foods like meats, eggs, fish or soy products and tree nuts for vegetarians. Leucine is a very important nutrient because it helps drive the muscle-building process of our body. On the other hand, vitamin-D is essential to promote calcium absorption, which is a very long physiological process, calcium influences muscle contractions, and numerous other functions in our bodies. The majority of vitamin-D you get comes from UV sun rays but there are also foods you can eat like fish or fortified dairy products to get more vitamin-D in your diet.
In conclusion, be sure to eat proteins that come from fish, eggs, fortified dairy products or soy protein isolate to ensure you are getting enough protein, leucine, and vitamin-D in your diet.
***For individualized diet analysis and recommendations consult with a registered licensed dietitian or healthcare provider
Verreijen AM, Verlaan S, Engberink MF, Swinkels SS, de Vogel-van den Bosch J, Weijs PJM. A high whey protein–, leucine-, and vitamin D–enriched supplement preserves muscle mass during intentional weight loss in obese older adults: a double-blind randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2015. 101(2):279-286
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