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Does fasting affect muscle mass?

Concerned about whether intermittent fasting or time-restricted feeding will adversely affect lean muscle mass retention? This small study randomized “generally healthy, recreationally active men” in their early twenties to one of two arms: resistance training and normal diet (RT-ND) or resistance training plus time restricted feeding (RT-TRF), all calories consumed without limitation within a 4-hour window.

Both groups performed resistance training three times per week consisting of alternating upper and lower body workouts, leading to muscle failure. Body composition was assessed via DEXA; muscle cross-sectional area measured by ultrasound; dietary records were collected. What happened? Interestingly, the effect size data showed more lean soft tissue gain in the RT-ND compared to the RT-TRF group, but there were greater improvements in upper and lower body strength and endurance in the RT-TRF group.

Overall, the RT-TRF group consumed fewer calories across the board and had no significant loss of lean muscle tissue at the end of 8 weeks.

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