Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle, Part Deux

      108 Comments on Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle, Part Deux

Someone in comments linked to a study that reminded me of another study that demonstrated why body composition isn’t just about calories. Actually, both studies demonstrated why body composition isn’t just about calories.

First, the study linked in comments, which was reported in Science Daily:

Researchers at McMaster University have uncovered significant new evidence in the quest for the elusive goal of gaining muscle and losing fat, an oft-debated problem for those trying to manage their weight, control their calories and balance their protein consumption.

Scientists have found that it is possible to achieve both, and quickly, but it isn’t easy.

The reader who linked to the study did so because a gym rat once insisted that I had NOT (despite what I might think) lost fat and gained muscle at the same time. I posted about my exchanges with the gym rat more than three years ago. I nicknamed him “Cliffy” because his (ahem) “expert” arguments reminded me of the character from Cheers. In fact, Cliffy and I first had a go-around about why kids get fat, which I recounted in a different post.

Anywhere, here’s part of the post where I recounted Cliffy’s theories about changing body composition:

Cliffy also insisted I did not (contrary to what my mirror and scale were telling me) become both leaner and more muscular after I tightened up my diet and switched to Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn workout method. Cliffy explained that it’s physiologically impossible to gain muscle mass while losing fat mass, and in fact pretty much everyone who loses weight loses some muscle mass. He knew this because some body-building guru he worships said as much.

I tried telling him that I did indeed put on muscle even while losing weight, that my arms and chest and thighs had become noticeably thicker while my waist shrank, but Cliffy explained that I’m an idiot (and a fat, lazy old man) and only thought I’d gained muscle because the weight loss gave me more definition.

So I looked up a clinical study in which women lost body fat while gaining muscle mass and posted the reference. Cliffy read the study and replied that it’s sometimes possible for people who’ve never worked out and are therefore “untrained” to gain muscle while losing weight, but not for anyone who’s been regularly lifting weights – which I had been. When I asked how being “untrained” makes the physiologically impossible become possible, he explained that I’m an idiot (and a fat, lazy old man) and must not have been “trained” even though I’d been lifting weights regularly before switching to Slow Burn.

It is, in fact, possible to lose fat and gain muscle during the same time span, as the study in Science Daily demonstrated:

For the study, 40 young men underwent a month of hard exercise while cutting dietary energy they would normally require by 40 per cent of what they would normally require.

The researchers divided their subjects into two groups. Both groups went on a low calorie diet, one with higher levels of protein than the other. The higher-protein group experienced muscle gains — about 2.5 pounds — despite consuming insufficient energy, while the lower protein group did not add muscle.

Researchers were intrigued because the high-protein group also lost more body fat.

The high-protein group lost 10.5 pounds on average in four weeks, while the lower-protein group only lost eight. The high-protein also gained 2.5 pounds of muscle on average, while the lower-protein group merely maintained their muscle. So the additional fat loss in the high-protein group was more like five pounds.

I’m not suggesting we all run out and undergo the diet-and-exercise regimen these young men did – after all, even one of the researchers described the regimen as “grueling.” But there are a couple of important lessons in there even for those of us who adopt less-than-grueling routines.

One is that lifting weights is a excellent idea if you’re attempting to lose weight. Despite drastically cutting calories and losing weight quickly, both groups at least maintained their muscle mass.

The other lesson is that protein matters. The only difference between the two groups was the proportion of protein in the diet. The high-protein guys put on more muscle and lost more body fat. That’s why, as I explained in a previous post, I choose a high-protein diet over a ketogenic diet. I can’t stay in ketosis unless I restrict my protein to something like 50 grams per day. I believe I’m better off going high-protein.

The second study (the one the first study reminded me of) was one I first read about in the excellent book The poor, misunderstood calorie by Dr. Bill Lagakos.

Dr. Lagakos recounted a study in which adults who were deficient in growth hormone were divided into a treatment group and a control group. The treatment group was given growth hormone. There was no other intervention for either group.

After three-and-a-half years, body weight hadn’t changed significantly in either group. But the people treated with growth hormone gained 12 pounds of muscle and lost 12 pounds of fat on average. That’s a lot of additional muscle.  If you don’t believe me, go buy 12 pounds of lean beef and stare at it for a moment.

So once again, we see that it’s possible to gain muscle while losing fat – this time because of a change in hormones. As Dr. Lagakos wrote:

They gained muscle and lost fat without a change in energy balance … this demonstrates that a particular hormonal milieu, in this case elevated growth hormone, is capable of regulating fat mass independent of energy balance.

That’s why it isn’t just about calories. Hormones tell your body what to do with those calories.

Every time you eat, you trigger the release of hormones. What you eat determines which hormones are released. Anyone who believes 500 calories of bread and 500 calories of beef produce the same hormonal response is simply ignorant.

You can probably guess which 500 calories I’d choose. And that’s why, despite what Cliffy insisted, I lost weight while putting on muscle.

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108 thoughts on “Losing Fat While Gaining Muscle, Part Deux

  1. j

    High protein diets are crucial for muscle growth especially when lifting. All one has to do is look at the diet of, oh I dont know, every succesful bodybuilder…or any actor that’s put on lots of muscle for a role.. These guys eat huge amounts of protein (more than I would ever care to eat on a daily basis).

    Hugh Jackman on diet for his Wolverine role:

    https://youtu.be/pCMAlecSdsw?t=1m25s

    It’s obvious a calorie is not a calorie.

    PS. I know we’re not anti-fat, but the protein these guys eat are for the most part lean meats (ie. chicken breasts, not chicken wings). Although, their diet isnt technically low-fat either. I think their fat macro ends up being around 20-25% of their total caloric intake…depending on their goals..

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      There’s nothing wrong with restricting fat a bit when attempting to get leaner. Even Volek and Phinney point out in their books that if your goal is to “eat” your own body fat, you should eat less dietary fat for awhile.

      The disagreement we have with the anti-fat hysterics is over whether dietary fat is dangerous for our health.

      Reply
      1. Thomas E.

        Vinnie Tortorich would disagree. His believe is that you don’t want to cut out the dietary fat when trying to get cut. I believe his thoughts are along the protein and carbohydrate insulin reaction.

        In his Vinnie’s podcast he will tell of occasional client who tries to finish off their cut by lowering fat intake to only go backwards instead. And of course, Vinnie has to get angry and correct their fat skimping ways.

        On that note, Keifer from BioFM podcast believes he has more evidence against the insulin model.

        As always, I am grabbing at my rare treat of popcorn and watching as new science comes out. BTW, popcorn made in coconut oil, and covered in Kerry Gold grass fed butter, with salt of course.

        I still shake my head, all of the skinless chicken I ate, all the egg yokes I threw out when I was power lifting/body building. I really wish I knew back then what I know now.

        Reply
  2. j

    High protein diets are crucial for muscle growth especially when lifting. All one has to do is look at the diet of, oh I dont know, every succesful bodybuilder…or any actor that’s put on lots of muscle for a role.. These guys eat huge amounts of protein (more than I would ever care to eat on a daily basis).

    Hugh Jackman on diet for his Wolverine role:

    https://youtu.be/pCMAlecSdsw?t=1m25s

    It’s obvious a calorie is not a calorie.

    PS. I know we’re not anti-fat, but the protein these guys eat are for the most part lean meats (ie. chicken breasts, not chicken wings). Although, their diet isnt technically low-fat either. I think their fat macro ends up being around 20-25% of their total caloric intake…depending on their goals..

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      There’s nothing wrong with restricting fat a bit when attempting to get leaner. Even Volek and Phinney point out in their books that if your goal is to “eat” your own body fat, you should eat less dietary fat for awhile.

      The disagreement we have with the anti-fat hysterics is over whether dietary fat is dangerous for our health.

      Reply
      1. Thomas E.

        Vinnie Tortorich would disagree. His believe is that you don’t want to cut out the dietary fat when trying to get cut. I believe his thoughts are along the protein and carbohydrate insulin reaction.

        In his Vinnie’s podcast he will tell of occasional client who tries to finish off their cut by lowering fat intake to only go backwards instead. And of course, Vinnie has to get angry and correct their fat skimping ways.

        On that note, Keifer from BioFM podcast believes he has more evidence against the insulin model.

        As always, I am grabbing at my rare treat of popcorn and watching as new science comes out. BTW, popcorn made in coconut oil, and covered in Kerry Gold grass fed butter, with salt of course.

        I still shake my head, all of the skinless chicken I ate, all the egg yokes I threw out when I was power lifting/body building. I really wish I knew back then what I know now.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Vinnie’s advice may be right for bodybuilders try get cut. I suspect for most people, if you’re already low-carb and you want to drop more pounds, it’s better to cut back on fat instead of protein.

          Reply
          1. j

            One thing I noticed about fatty meats is that they tend to be much higher in omega-6 compared to their leaner counterparts.Exception being “fatty” fish like salmon, mackerel, etc which are high in omega-3..

            For example, comparing 100 grams of chicken thigh with skin to 100 grams of chicken breast without skin.

            (Note: change the serving size dropdown menu to 100 grams if you visit the site)

            Chicken thighs: Omega-3 206mg
            Omega-6 3091mg
            http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/730/2

            Chicken breast: Omega-3 40mg
            Omega-6 170mg
            http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/poultry-products/701/2

            Wasnt sure if this had been discussed previously.. But maybe it’s something to consider?

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              It would be interesting to see a comparison between pastured chicken and factory-farmed chicken.

            2. j

              I think that may be another exception..at least according to some articles. Grass-fed or free range animal meats (non grain-fed) appear to be higher in omega 3 compared to factory raised…

          2. Mike

            Protein stimulates insulin, though not as well as carbs. Protein also satiates very well.

            So the answer to that may depend on one’s degree of insulin resistance and how much protein you are eating to start with.

            The macros calculator on redit for keto would definitely recommend that you eat more than a minimum of 50g of protein though. So even the guys carrying the ketogenic flag say to eat more protein than that. My guess is that calculator would come in around 150grams for you. Of course they would also tend to tell you to eat fewer carbs.

            Someone posted an analysis of various diets somewhere not too long ago that basically said that carbs + 1/2 protein should be under some constant that varies from individual to individual, based on measured insulin response of test subjects to various foods. If you want two more grams of protein, eat one less gram of carbs.

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              150 grams is about what I consume, some days closer to 100. Even at 100, I can’t stay in ketosis.

  3. Maureen

    Very interesting, thanks. My one question is how do you go about determining how much muscle you have gained and how much fat lost. Thanks!

    Reply
          1. Firebird

            Like the Rock, I am a former pro wrestler. Not known like he is, nor did I get rich in the business like he did. However, I DO know the culture. Yes, they do need chemical. I have my doubts that anyone, including the Rock that, at 40+ years of age, whom if you saw him in his 20s was soft and puffy, can get that lean and that ripped just consuming that many calories.

            I’ve been lifting for almost 40 years. Seen it all. More than enough to have my doubts.

            Reply
            1. j

              I see where youre coming from. I do wonder however if it’s the same for actors who muscle up for roles..
              Hugh Jackman is in his 40s and did a diet similar to the Rock ..no mention of chemicals far as Ive heard..and he got fairly big, ripped and vascular..
              Anyhow, was just a curiosity..Im not planning on stuffing my face or using chemicals either way..

            2. tim

              That level of training at any age can only be maintained while cycling HGH and vitamin S.

              Only the uninformed believe that there is something magical in the Rock’s training.

            3. j

              I was really commenting mostly about protein impact on weight training. And no, theres probably nothing magical about the Rock’s training within itself..I mean it’s weight lifting, not rocket science.

              My main point was that most if not all successful bodybuilders recommend and consume high protein. Whether or not there are instances of chemical use is really a separate issue for me, as I dont hear anyone publicly recommending them.

              I posted Rock’s diet as an extreme example of dieting..and there are many. But maybe I could have picked a better example, one of a successful natural bodybuilder or a natural high level training athlete…assuming you believe they exist..

  4. Tom Welsh

    Typo alert! Seventh-last paragraph: “There was no other invention for either group”. Presumably, that should read “intervention”. There will be no charge!

    Reply
  5. Tom Welsh

    “…he explained that I’m an idiot (and a fat, lazy old man)…”

    You certainly are a patient man. If anyone had written that to me, the dialogue would have ended abruptly.

    Reply
  6. Firebird

    “So I looked up a clinical study in which women lost body fat while gaining muscle mass and posted the reference.”

    A lot of women will stop at this point because either:

    A) The scale isn’t moving because the muscle gain and fat loss cancel each other out.

    B) The scale is inching upwards because they are gaining muscle mass, even though they are losing body fat.

    I have a sister who does this…and she has a degree in exercise physiology. She stops training the second the scale ticks over her self-imposed ultimate bodyweight (which is already 20 lbs. BELOW her ideal weight)

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      It’s unfortunate that people get hung up on weight when they should focus more on body composition. I weigh more now than when I finished my fast-food diet in Fat Head, but I’m also leaner.

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        Indeed!

        You will know if you are loosing fat and gaining muscle at the same weight if your clothes are looser. Including your shoes of course, and you can see this in your face also. Another indication is feeling better.

        Reply
  7. Maureen

    Very interesting, thanks. My one question is how do you go about determining how much muscle you have gained and how much fat lost. Thanks!

    Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          That’s a new one on me.

          You seem to spend rather a lot of time reading blogs by people you don’t like. You realize that’s not a good sign, right?

          Reply
          1. BobM

            I’ve read pretty much everything Dr. Fung has written on his website and don’t remember him ever saying that DEXA was useless.

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              Sure, it’s good to get a variety of opinions. But Charles seems to have an obsession with Jimmmy. He knows everything the guy writes, everything he does, all his lab tests, etc. Then he shows up here rather often to insult Jimmy. I’m pretty sure he tracks everything Jimmy does just looking for ammunition.

            2. tim

              Every man in the planet has a passion for something. For some it’s baseball, others politics, others the news, others booze, etc. Charles’ is Jimmy Moore.

            3. Tom Naughton Post author

              Apparently. But developing a passionate desire to find ammunition for insults strikes me as a bit unhealthy.

            4. Craig Rich

              Especially since he’s not reading Jimmy’s stuff because he wants to learn. He’s just reading it to find new ways to insult or discredit Jimmy. It’s worse than just reading stuff he already agrees with because he isn’t gaining any knowledge, and he is purposely trying to hurt someone (in a mild way). Quite unhealthy.

  8. Karen A.

    A couple of typo’s: 1) “invention” instead of “intervention”, 2) “You can probably which ” in last paragraph.

    Doesn’t Cliffy believe in the US Army/Navy/Marine’s training, “Rocky”, “Conan the Barbarian”, and “Ben Hur”? I’m pretty sure they all gained muscle while cutting body fat; albeit, being chained up is not my preference for weight training. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      Thanks, fixed the typos.

      Cliffy insisted we can only bulk up, which means gaining both fat and muscle, then trim down, which means losing some muscle with the fat. That’s what bodybuilders do, so he apparently believes it’s the only possibility.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Part of me thinks this is crazy. If you keep carbs down, protein sufficient for body building, and eat just enough fat to maintain a modest, but not huge, caloric deficit, why the heck can’t you lose fat and gain muscle? Supposedly your body doesn’t know it its burning fat you just ate or stored fat.

        Part of me thinks that a whole bunch of body builders are a crowd, and that maybe there is wisdom there.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton

          Their belief is that if you’re under-consuming calories, your body will choose burning protein for fuel over using it to build extra muscle. For very lean bodybuilders, that may even be the case. But most of us aren’t very lean bodybuilders.

          Reply
  9. Tom Welsh

    Typo alert! Seventh-last paragraph: “There was no other invention for either group”. Presumably, that should read “intervention”. There will be no charge!

    Reply
  10. Tom Welsh

    “…he explained that I’m an idiot (and a fat, lazy old man)…”

    You certainly are a patient man. If anyone had written that to me, the dialogue would have ended abruptly.

    Reply
  11. Paul B.

    It’s certainly possible to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time, mainly in 3 scenarios:

    1. Someone who has never lifted weights consistently starts training hard and regularly;
    2. Someone who has previously lifted but taken a layoff from training begins lifting again;
    3. Someone who has been lifting regularly begins using growth enhancing drugs (steroids, HGH, testosterone).

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      4. Someone who has been lifting switches to a more effective method and maintains a good diet. That was what happened in my case.

      Reply
      1. Paul B.

        Good point, my omission. And a “more effective method” usually means higher intensity and less volume/frequency. People try to follow the ridiculous routines in the muscle magazines and wonder why they are not progressing and are tired all of the time.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton

          That’s exactly what it was. I ended up doing fewer reps and using heavier weights with Slow Burn. The slower up-an-down pace really works the muscles.

          Reply
          1. j

            Also sticking to compound exercises using free weights (or body weight if need be), where multiple large muscle groups are used, seem to be more effective. Exercises such as bench press, shoulder press, squats, pullups/rows, some curls..

            I see way too many people at the gym using clunky, rigid machines that simply do not work out the muscle group as effectively as free weights..IMO. Also see inexperienced people doing too many isolation exercises (usually on a machine) that really are best for advanced bodybuilders.

            I tend to avoid using machines whenever possible..except for a few cable exercises and for calves..

            Reply
        2. Firebird

          Most of the routines in the magazines are performed by competitors who need chemical enhancement to recover quickly in order to perform those routines. A guy in my gym began right away by following Arnold’s Mr. Olympia routines, which were ungodly. But Arnold had all day to train and was sponsored by Joe Weider. He also used steroids to get him through his training sessions.

          Reply
      2. T33CH

        The bottom line – anyone can gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you have or have not workout consistently. Yes, there might be a point where muscle growth starts to diminish, but it takes a lot to get to that point.

        Reply
  12. Firebird

    “So I looked up a clinical study in which women lost body fat while gaining muscle mass and posted the reference.”

    A lot of women will stop at this point because either:

    A) The scale isn’t moving because the muscle gain and fat loss cancel each other out.

    B) The scale is inching upwards because they are gaining muscle mass, even though they are losing body fat.

    I have a sister who does this…and she has a degree in exercise physiology. She stops training the second the scale ticks over her self-imposed ultimate bodyweight (which is already 20 lbs. BELOW her ideal weight)

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      It’s unfortunate that people get hung up on weight when they should focus more on body composition. I weigh more now than when I finished my fast-food diet in Fat Head, but I’m also leaner.

      Reply
      1. Walter Bushell

        Indeed!

        You will know if you are loosing fat and gaining muscle at the same weight if your clothes are looser. Including your shoes of course, and you can see this in your face also. Another indication is feeling better.

        Reply
  13. Karen A.

    A couple of typo’s: 1) “invention” instead of “intervention”, 2) “You can probably which ” in last paragraph.

    Doesn’t Cliffy believe in the US Army/Navy/Marine’s training, “Rocky”, “Conan the Barbarian”, and “Ben Hur”? I’m pretty sure they all gained muscle while cutting body fat; albeit, being chained up is not my preference for weight training. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Thanks, fixed the typos.

      Cliffy insisted we can only bulk up, which means gaining both fat and muscle, then trim down, which means losing some muscle with the fat. That’s what bodybuilders do, so he apparently believes it’s the only possibility.

      Reply
      1. Mike

        Part of me thinks this is crazy. If you keep carbs down, protein sufficient for body building, and eat just enough fat to maintain a modest, but not huge, caloric deficit, why the heck can’t you lose fat and gain muscle? Supposedly your body doesn’t know it its burning fat you just ate or stored fat.

        Part of me thinks that a whole bunch of body builders are a crowd, and that maybe there is wisdom there.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Their belief is that if you’re under-consuming calories, your body will choose burning protein for fuel over using it to build extra muscle. For very lean bodybuilders, that may even be the case. But most of us aren’t very lean bodybuilders.

          Reply
      1. Mark

        Nah brah, you need Cobra Blood. All the jacked bodybuilders are on it. Personal trainer at my gym told me about it, and he was ripped so you know he knows what he’s talking about.

        Reply
    1. Paul B.

      Well, it would increase strength and muscle mass. Obviously not a decision to make without talking to your physician. A lot of people seemed to believe it was a magic fountain of youth with no side effects. Of course there are side effects, quite serious ones in some cases. But if it enhances one’s quality of life, that should be an informed decision each adult should make for themselves.

      Reply
  14. Paul B.

    It’s certainly possible to gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time, mainly in 3 scenarios:

    1. Someone who has never lifted weights consistently starts training hard and regularly;
    2. Someone who has previously lifted but taken a layoff from training begins lifting again;
    3. Someone who has been lifting regularly begins using growth enhancing drugs (steroids, HGH, testosterone).

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      4. Someone who has been lifting switches to a more effective method and maintains a good diet. That was what happened in my case.

      Reply
      1. Paul B.

        Good point, my omission. And a “more effective method” usually means higher intensity and less volume/frequency. People try to follow the ridiculous routines in the muscle magazines and wonder why they are not progressing and are tired all of the time.

        Reply
        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          That’s exactly what it was. I ended up doing fewer reps and using heavier weights with Slow Burn. The slower up-an-down pace really works the muscles.

          Reply
          1. j

            Also sticking to compound exercises using free weights (or body weight if need be), where multiple large muscle groups are used, seem to be more effective. Exercises such as bench press, shoulder press, squats, pullups/rows, some curls..

            I see way too many people at the gym using clunky, rigid machines that simply do not work out the muscle group as effectively as free weights..IMO. Also see inexperienced people doing too many isolation exercises (usually on a machine) that really are best for advanced bodybuilders.

            I tend to avoid using machines whenever possible..except for a few cable exercises and for calves..

            Reply
            1. Tom Naughton Post author

              After reading books by both Fred Hahn and Dr. Doug McGuff, I switched to compound exercises. Slow pace, heavy weights.

            2. Firebird

              When I was a teenager, I trained in my basement…6x week with weights then go run 3 nights per week. It burned me out. (Didn’t help that I also became a vegetarian at that time).

              I was a fan of Steve Reeves but just could not get into his full body, 3 day training routine.

              I ended up reading an article by a bodybuilder named Mike Mentzer and that changed everything. He preached heavy training, few sets, plenty of rest. Repeat.

              His routines didn’t last more than 30 minutes. Should have beaten Arnold at the 1980 Mr. Olympia but politics got in the way…they did it to “prove” that high intensity training will not win you a championship.

        2. Firebird

          Most of the routines in the magazines are performed by competitors who need chemical enhancement to recover quickly in order to perform those routines. A guy in my gym began right away by following Arnold’s Mr. Olympia routines, which were ungodly. But Arnold had all day to train and was sponsored by Joe Weider. He also used steroids to get him through his training sessions.

          Reply
          1. j

            I used Arnie’s routines when I first started out..but at the beginner level from his bodybuilding encyclopedia (great book).
            It was a 3-day split twice a week (or 6 days per week), coupled with a high protein, higher calorie diet which was supplemented with protein shakes.
            It worked out (pun alert) well for me. Put on about 30 lbs on my scrawny frame in about a years time..and no, no chemicals whatsoever.

            Reply
      2. T33CH

        The bottom line – anyone can gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time. It doesn’t matter if you have or have not workout consistently. Yes, there might be a point where muscle growth starts to diminish, but it takes a lot to get to that point.

        Reply
      1. Mark

        Nah brah, you need Cobra Blood. All the jacked bodybuilders are on it. Personal trainer at my gym told me about it, and he was ripped so you know he knows what he’s talking about.

        Reply
    1. Paul B.

      Well, it would increase strength and muscle mass. Obviously not a decision to make without talking to your physician. A lot of people seemed to believe it was a magic fountain of youth with no side effects. Of course there are side effects, quite serious ones in some cases. But if it enhances one’s quality of life, that should be an informed decision each adult should make for themselves.

      Reply
  15. BenG

    Not surprised. The study used what looked like fat beginners. It’s been known for yearsthat fat beginners (and detrained individuals coming back from a long layoff) can lose muscle and gain fat while getting enough protein. Fat people are insulin resistant at the adipocyte (bigger fat cells = less insulin sensitivity) and insulin senstive at the myocytes. When adipocyte sensitivity equalizes with myoctyes (fat loss = smaller fat cells that are more sensitive), it won’t work anymore. Only alternating deficit and surplus works unless you take drugs to make myocytes more sensitive that adipocytes.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton

      When I gained muscle and lost fat, I wasn’t detrained. I switched methods, but I had already been working out.

      Reply
  16. Dan Sadler

    Hi Tom. This is unrelated to the post, but I wanted to ask you something.
    I haven’t posted here in a while. About 4 or 5 years ago, I may have commented once or twice, and I believe you might have responded.
    Anyway, I figured out that saturated fat was harmless back in 2009, and then I bought your video. I drew the same conclusions about health and fat consumption just like you did independently, and was kinda amazed at how what we believe about diet mirrored each other almost exactly.
    I was just wondering if you happened to see a Youtube video I discovered about 6 months ago by Dr Richard Johnson called “The Origins of Obesity and the Fattening of Man.
    It was shot in New Zealand about a year ago, and is was sponsored by some organization called F.I.Z.Z, or Fighting Sugar in Soft Drinks.
    At this lecture, they had a few researchers including Dr Robert Lustig talk about sugar and obesity.
    What was really interesting about this video is that Dr Johnson basically claims that sugar is the cause of metabolic syndrome, and I believe him. I was just wondering if you saw this video, and if you agreed with him.
    Dr Johnson actually proclaims in this video that sugar is the cause of metabolic syndrome, and in his own words “It is proven, and I would look forward somebody to argue”.
    In my opinion, he pretty much proves his point.
    Dr. Johnson talks about how sugar consumption was the leading theory about obesity and heart disease early on, then how that opinion changed with some doctor who claimed these problems were caused by basically glutton and sloth.
    Then he goes on to describe animal and human clinical studies, then shows how sugar throughout history made elites and eventually everybody fat.
    I was just wondering if you saw the video and what you thought about Dr. Johnson’s research and whether I should believe his conclusions.
    PS I like Dr Robert Lustig’s research, but I disagree how he wants to solve the problem. Lustig wants to use government authority to solve the obesity epidemic.
    Looking forward to a response

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I haven’t seen that particular lecture by Dr. Johnson, but I’ll look for it. Some years back, I posted his lectures on fructose and how it leads to gout and high blood pressure.

      Same for me regarding Lustig. He’s done a great job alerting people to the problems with high sugar intake, but I don’t want government telling people what foods they can buy.

      Reply
      1. Firebird

        I have a copy of Dr. Johnson’s book, “The Sugar Fix”. Pretty good reading. However, at the time he wrote the book, he was still in the “cholesterol is bad” camp.

        Reply
          1. Dan Sadler

            Thanks for the response, Tom. I think you will love the video. It is exactly the proof about sugar I have been looking for.

            Reply
  17. BenG

    Not surprised. The study used what looked like fat beginners. It’s been known for yearsthat fat beginners (and detrained individuals coming back from a long layoff) can lose muscle and gain fat while getting enough protein. Fat people are insulin resistant at the adipocyte (bigger fat cells = less insulin sensitivity) and insulin senstive at the myocytes. When adipocyte sensitivity equalizes with myoctyes (fat loss = smaller fat cells that are more sensitive), it won’t work anymore. Only alternating deficit and surplus works unless you take drugs to make myocytes more sensitive that adipocytes.

    Reply
    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      When I gained muscle and lost fat, I wasn’t detrained. I switched methods, but I had already been working out.

      Reply
  18. Fernando

    Hey Tom I wanted to ask you something since you know a lot about statins.

    My mother a few years ago checked her total cholesterol and it was 255, after following a low fat low cholesterol diet recommended by his doctor and seeing no improvement in her total cholesterol she was given statins.

    She dropped 60 points but now her memory seems really poor, she forgets things all the time. She is in her late 60’s but every female in my family has live until their mid 90’s with no signs of dementia or mental problems, my grandmother is 95 and has an excellent memory yet her 68 years old daughter forgets everything.

    Do you have any good study on this or something similar? I’ve tried Googling but most pages seem very quackish and anti science or they say that there is no link between these two.

    Reply
    1. The Older Brother

      If you want some study citations, including several “gold standard” clinical studies published in some of the top medical journals, check out “Statins Toxic Side Effects,” compiled by David Evans, reviewed by Tom here:

      http://www.fathead-movie.com/index.php/2015/11/04/book-review-statins-toxic-side-effects

      I picked out a half-dozen or so for a group (including a few docs) that I gave a talk to a few weeks ago. There’s 500(!) to pick from, grouped by general topic.

      Cheers

      Reply
        1. The Older Brother

          Sorry, no video. Thought I mentioned that at Christmas. Maybe one of us had a smidgen too much Glenn Morange.

          It was for the Springfield Cracker Barrel group. It’s 30 guys who get together once a month at the Sangamo Club, have a really nice dinner, and then one of the members gives a talk on any topic that interests them. I’m probably 15 years below the average age.

          I was invited to join last Fall by Charles Scweighauser, retired UIS (fka Sangamon State U) professor emeritus of Physics and Astronomy [he started the public “Star Parties” at SSU if you remember those], and all around Renaissance man. He also has a degree in English Lit, and has taught courses on poetry, opera, etc. The other members are (mostly retired) docs, lawyers, and businessmen. Kind of interesting to feel like the dumbest guy in the room!

          I met Charlie on the Italy trip we went on with Mom and the IL Symphony group, and we hit it off. He’s got a 1/4 acre prairie grass stand in his back yard in a rural suburb, so the last few years I’ve gone out when he calls for volunteers to help him burn it down. Usually about four or five other folks, and I’m probably 20 years younger than the average for that group! (I bump into one of Mom’s English Lit professors every year. Ultra lib, of course.)

          Anyway, Charlie nominated me and another of the Symphony supporters; I decided after a couple of months to jump in and volunteer a talk.

          I called it “Improving Your Health by Ignoring Your Health Care Provider,” which generated some interest as there were three doctors in attendance! It was pretty much, as you can guess, a “Fat Head” talk. Fat is good, carbs are bad, and stains are evil.

          One of the docs in particular, who is head of physicians for St. John’s Hospital, was very complimentary, agreed pretty much on the fat vs carbs arguments, and stated that “all of the cholesterol business is bullsh*t”. He did feel that statins still provided some benefits, but was very open minded about it and we agreed to cordially disagree.

          Anyway, I’ll email you the PowerPoint of the slides I used. You can pretty much figure out the dialog that went with it.

          Cheers

          Reply

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