New Research from the University of South Florida on High vs. Low Protein in Aspiring Female Physique Athletes!

In this article I will be summarizing ‘hot off the press’ research that was conducted in my research laboratory (the Performance & Physique Enhancement Laboratory at the University of South Florida). The title of this study is “Effects of a High (1.1 grams/pound) vs. Low/Moderate (0.55 grams/pound) Protein Intake on Body Composition in Aspiring Female Physique Athletes Engaging in an 8-Week Resistance Training Program.“ As members of BioLayne’s website, you are getting unprecedented access to this information from the research teams’ perspective. You are receiving this sensitive information prior to the principal investigator sharing the results with those in the media and fitness industry. As a side note, academic journals do not allow researchers to discuss their research findings until the data has been presented at an academic conference, and this study has now passed this test by being presented at the International Society of Sport Nutrition Annual Conference in Clearwater, Florida on Saturday, June 11th. In a few weeks, you will also see a similar article on this research study on bodybuilding.com.

In the past few years, there has been a renewed interest in comparing high protein diets to lower protein diets in resistance trained individuals. Dr. Jose Antonio from Nova Southeastern University has conducted two of the most recent studies [1][2]. In the first study, resistance trained males and females were instructed to ingest normal (0.8 grams/pound) or high (2 grams/pound) levels of protein each day over an 8-week period. The high protein group ingested so much protein that the authors of the study stated “This is the highest recorded intake of dietary protein in the scientific literature that we are aware of” [1]. During the study, both groups were instructed to maintain their normal training programs (the training programs were not standardized nor were the workouts supervised by the researchers in this study). At the end of the 8-week study, it was reported that there were no differences between the high and low protein groups in relation to body weight, fat mass, fat free mass, or body fat levels. While it may be surprising to some that the higher protein group did not gain fat free mass to a greater extent than the low protein group, to me, the truly amazing finding from this study was the fact that there were no differences between the two groups in relation to body weight, fat mass, and body fat %. This occurred in spite of the fact that the high protein group consumed over 750 calories more per day for 8 weeks! In terms of protein grams, they consumed an extra 145 grams of protein per day (an average intake of 307 grams per day for the high protein group and 138 grams per day in the low protein group).

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