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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: A hypoenergetic diet with decreased protein intake does not reduce lean body mass in trained females
Author(s): Pearson, Alice G
Alexander, Lee
Witard, Oliver C
Coughlin, Thomas E
Tipton, Kevin D
Walshe, Ian H
Keywords: Energy restriction
Weight loss
Body composition
Diet composition
Issue Date: 1-Dec-2020
Citation: Pearson AG, Alexander L, Witard OC, Coughlin TE, Tipton KD & Walshe IH (2020) A hypoenergetic diet with decreased protein intake does not reduce lean body mass in trained females. European Journal of Applied Physiology.
Abstract: Purpose Increasing protein intake during energy restriction (ER) attenuates lean body mass (LBM) loss in trained males. However, whether this relationship exists in trained females is unknown. This study examined the impact of higher compared to lower protein intakes (35% versus 15% of energy intake) on body composition in trained females during 2 weeks of severe ER. Methods Eighteen well-trained females completed a 1-week energy balanced diet (HD100), followed by a 2-week hypoenergetic (40% ER) diet (HD60). During HD60, participants consumed either a high protein (HP; 35% protein, 15% fat) or lower protein (CON; 15% protein, 35% fat) diet. Body composition, peak power, leg strength, sprint time, and anaerobic endurance were assessed at baseline, pre-HD60, and post-HD60. Results Absolute protein intake was reduced during HD60 in the CON group (from 1.6 to 0.9 g·d·kgBM−1) and maintained in the HP group (~ 1.7 g·d·kgBM−1). CON and HP groups decreased body mass equally during HD60 (− 1.0 ± 1.1 kg; p = 0.026 and − 1.1 ± 0.7 kg; p = 0.002, respectively) and maintained LBM. There were no interactions between time point and dietary condition on exercise performance. Conclusion The preservation of LBM during HD60, irrespective of whether absolute protein intake is maintained or reduced, contrasts with findings in trained males. In trained females, the relationship between absolute protein intake and LBM change during ER warrants further investigation. Future recommendations for protein intake during ER should be expressed relative to body mass, not total energy intake, in trained females.
DOI Link: 10.1007/s00421-020-04555-7
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
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