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maintaining muscle mass during weight loss

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM

I am in a low carb diet (a mixture of Paleo, Atkins, Mediterranean...) for weight loss (~1200 Kcals, ~50 grams carbs) with great results so far (25 kilograms lost in 2 months, initial weight 145 kilograms). I was wondering what's your opinion about the amount of protein that I should consume in order not to lose muscle mass, given that my lean body mass is about 68 kilograms. During the lost 2 months I 've been consuming about 70 grams of protein each day and I am afraid that this is not enough. So, what is the perfect number, 0,8/1/1,5/2... grams per kilo? I am 32 years old, male and sedentary. Thank you!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 31, 2013
at 08:50 AM

Why the minus? Reading comprehension for the win: I never said exercise is necessary for weight loss - it's not. I said exercise promotes muscle mass retention, which I'm sure Gary Taubes agrees with. It also increases your metabolism, so you lose weight faster - but again, is not necessary for weight loss. No smiley face.

5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

(571)

on January 30, 2013
at 08:07 PM

Correctly, yes.

5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

(571)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Gary Taubes disagrees :-) Exercise is not necessary for weight loss.

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7 Answers

best answer

2
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on January 30, 2013
at 06:33 PM

I think most studies have shown using 1.3-1.5g/kg.

Also .7-1g/lb of lean mass has been stated.

1
Cf416725f639ffd1bb90764792ce7b8a

(2799)

on January 30, 2013
at 11:40 PM

Lift heavy or lose muscle.

Asking how much protein you should eat is futile. No one agrees. I do best on a bit more than 1 g per pound ideal.

Asking the best way to lift heavy is also fun. I think most people have such crappy form that they should do leg presses instead of squats and that's always good for a few down votes from the cult of squatting.

http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/muscle-gain/squat-versus-leg-press-for-big-legs.html

1
9691ce8405c1c75c2a6b0a8b68cd16b3

on January 30, 2013
at 10:02 PM

No matter how much or little protein you eat, you will lose muscle mass unless you give your body a reason to keep it.

Use it or lose it.

You have to challenge your body to make it want to keep the muscle mass. One way to do this is to introduce lifting heavy weights 2 - 3 times per week. The training program should be brief and contain compound movements. Such as deadlift, squats, benchpress and chin-up/pull-ups. Do 3 x 8 or 5 x 5 with as heavy weight as you manage safely and comfortable, but it should challenge you. Increase the weights with about 5 lbs each work out session. Starting Strength by Mark Rippetoe is a good program if you want specifics.

Walking for 30 - 45 minutes each day would also be a good supplement to the weightlifting.

Kudos to your progress so far! 25 kg in 2 months is very impressive! :)

1
43a4ef6f58026d1593004aebe542d597

on January 30, 2013
at 08:01 PM

I've been involved in the weight lifting scene for a while, and most serious weight lifters who are trying to gain muscle and lose fat try to eat one gram, or more, of protein for every pound of body weight. Now, that may seem like a lot, but weight lifting 4-6 times a week tears a lot of muscle and requires large amounts of protein to constantly rebuild. And I don't eat more than 30 grams per meal (every 3 hours) because the body can only metabolize and make use of so much protein at a time. Now, you say you are sedentary. I take that to mean you don't exercise. It might be difficult to lose wight without losing muscle without doing some type of muscular exercise. I suppose it's possible, but the body will adapt to whatever environment it is put in. Make it lift weight, it will get bigger and stronger. Make it sit on the couch and use no energy, it will slowly dwindle since it doesn't need much muscle to do that. Regardless, 70 grams doesn't sound too bad for a sedentary lifestyle. If you start to shrink, add more. And if you still continue to shrink, workout.

1
9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:19 PM

What JayJay said. But even more important than nutrition is exercise: it encourages your muscle mass to stay put, and increases your metabolism so you lose weight faster.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on January 31, 2013
at 08:50 AM

Why the minus? Reading comprehension for the win: I never said exercise is necessary for weight loss - it's not. I said exercise promotes muscle mass retention, which I'm sure Gary Taubes agrees with. It also increases your metabolism, so you lose weight faster - but again, is not necessary for weight loss. No smiley face.

5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

(571)

on January 30, 2013
at 07:40 PM

Gary Taubes disagrees :-) Exercise is not necessary for weight loss.

0
Dc6407193ba441d1438f6f0c06af872b

on January 31, 2013
at 01:26 AM

At 120kg, you are doing weight training just by walking around. So no need for (additional) weight training for now, unless of course you want to. But you really should take a nice walk every day. Walk to work instead of driving, or always get out one stop earlier on the subway, or whatever.

As for protein content, let me just say that whatever you are doing seems to be working great. Congratulations! Keep it up. Of course, if you are constantly hungry and it's otherwise not sustainable, you may want to rethink, and I'm with the other posters that you're on the low end for protein. But if you're comfortable and losing weight, no need to tinker.

0
1eeaff4097f33330456dc8c17904e1d8

on January 30, 2013
at 07:55 PM

Per my distant recollections of Lyle Mcdonald's analysis (in The Ketogenic Diet), you should be eating about 150 grams of protein initially and then gradually reduce to about 90 grams (over 3 weeks) to spare muscle. Did you post your numbers correctly -- you were 145kg now 120kg and 68kg LBM?

5616e8de3e99ae199d9fd896098a331a

(571)

on January 30, 2013
at 08:07 PM

Correctly, yes.

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