Eileen M Weinheimer, Laura P Sands, Wayne W Campbell; A systematic review of the separate and combined effects of energy restriction and exercise on fat-free mass in middle-aged and older adults: implications for sarcopenic obesity. Nutr Rev 2010; 68 (7): 375-388. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00298.x
The systematic review presented here assessed the effects of energy restriction (ER) and exercise (EX) on fat-free mass (FFM) in overweight and obese middle-aged and older adults. PubMed was searched using the key words “weight loss or energy restriction” AND “skeletal muscle or body composition,” with limitations set for “human” and “middle-aged and aged.” Results from 52 studies are reported as the percentages of EX (mainly aerobic training), ER, or ER+EX groups that had a specified change in body weight and FFM, since insufficient data were available for a meta-analysis. The EX groups had modest body weight and FFM changes. Eighty-one percent and 39% of the ER and ER+EX groups, respectively, lost ≥15% of body weight as FFM. These findings suggest that exercise is an effective tool to help men and postmenopausal women aged ≥50 years, with a BMI greater than 25 kg/m2 preserve FFM after moderate ER-induced weight loss, which is important for combating sarcopenic obesity.