If you’re eating a high fat diet and trying to increase muscle definition by weight training, you may be disappointed in the results you get. According to a new study published in the Journal of Physiology, eating a high fat diet can reduce the ability of muscle to grow and become more defined. This could mean less muscle definition and strength – even if you eat enough protein.
Does Eating a High Fat Diet Interfere with Muscle Development?
Researchers at the University of California at Davis found that when mice ate a high fat, low carbohydrate diet and exercised for fourteen weeks, they developed less muscle than mice that ate a low fat, high carbohydrate diet.
It seems that a high fat diet interferes with the muscle’s ability to make new muscle tissue. This could be the problem if you’re spending hours at the gym trying to bulk up and not getting the expected results.
How Does a High Fat Diet Reduce Muscle Growth?
One theory is that a high fat diet leads affects the hormone insulin. Insulin is responsible for shuttling fatty acids, amino acids, and glucose into cells where they can be stored or used as energy.
Muscle cells need insulin to help them get the amino acids they need to build muscle mass. When a person eats too many fats, it may tie up insulin so that it’s less available to ferry amino acids into muscle cells – leaving the muscles deprived of the protein building blocks they need for growth and development.
To increase muscle definition, it may not be enough to exercise and eat a high protein diet. You also may need to cut back on the amount of fat you’re eating. Eating a high fat diet also leads to weight gain which is not what most people want.
Building Lean Body Mass: The Bottom Line?
If you’re weight training and not seeing increased muscle definition or bulk despite getting enough protein, take a look at how much fat you’re eating. Try keeping a food diary for a while to be aware of how much fat you’re taking in.
When you do eat fats, choose heart-healthy ones such as the monounsaturated ones found in nuts and olive oil and the polyunsaturated fats in fish oils. These are the healthiest options whether you’re trying to build muscle or not.