With new diet fads appearing every day, it’s easy for people to become confused about what works, what doesn’t, and what’s safe for losing weight.

To bring clarity to what dietary strategies are safe and effective, the International Society for Sports Nutrition published a new position stand. In their new paper, the organization examined literature from more than 140 intervention trials lasting at least four weeks that measured body composition outcomes, fat mass, lean mass, and the effects of exercise training. The purpose of the paper was to discuss misconceptions on various diet methods and the effects they have on body composition.

In the paper, the authors discussed “types” of diets, but did not include any commercially branded diet such as Atkins or Paleo. The dietary methods they chose to include were very-low and low-energy (calorie), low-fat, low-carbohydrate, ketogenic, high-protein, and intermittent fasting diets.

The authors gave special consideration to improvements in body composition with diet changes and weight loss that have a beneficial effect on the body separate from benefits solely for sports and fitness applications. They also discussed increases in lean mass and having a higher lean mass to fat mass ratio as beneficial in terms of reducing the risk of the development of metabolic syndrome, bone loss, and sarcopenia.

Key Takeaways

The position stand made several conclusions following a critical analysis of the literature.

  1. There are many diet types and eating styles with many subtypes falling under each diet category.
  2. There are strengths and limitations to all body composition measurement methods.
  3. The driving factor for diet plans focusing on loss of fat mass is a caloric deficit. A more aggressive caloric deficit may be appropriate for those with higher initial body fat percentages while slower rates of weight loss may better sustain lean mass in those with lower body fat percentages.
  4. Diet plans that focus on gaining lean mass are improved by an excess intake of calories to aid anabolic processes and support increased training loads.
  5. There is a wide range of dietary approaches that have similar effectiveness in improving body composition. From low fat to low carbohydrate and all in between, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, allowing flexibility for everyone to reach their goals.
  6. High protein intakes beyond that of current dietary recommendations for athletic populations (as much as 2.3-3.1 g/kg fat free mass) may be required to maximize muscle retention in resistance trained individuals.
  7. Intermittent fasting is as effective as daily caloric restriction in improving body composition. Ensuring adequate protein intake, resistance training, and weight loss at an appropriate rate should be primary goals for lean mass retention or gain with simultaneous loss of fat mass.
  8. Long-term weight loss success depends on various factors including adaptive thermogenesis, a larger than expected drop in energy expenditure during weight loss. There is a compounding effect of low calorie intake, inadequate protein, and lack of resistance training that results in a slowed metabolism that makes long term success difficult if not impossible.

Use of Isagenix Products

The new, recent position stand from ISSN is welcome news for those using Isagenix Systems and products for weight loss and improvement of body composition. Historically, Isagenix has long supported the use of a higher intake of quality protein during calorie restriction on Shake Days for weight loss. In addition, these are often combined with Cleanse Days as a form of nutritionally supported intermittent fasting. The company has also funded research exploring use of these strategies for long-term weight maintenance.

Reference

Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ, Wildman R, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: diets and body composition. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 14; 14:17. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0174-y.

 

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