It remains unclear as to what extent resistance training (RT) can attenuate muscle loss during caloric restriction (CR) interventions in humans. The objective here is to address if RT could attenuate muscle loss induced by CR in obese elderly individuals, through summarized effects of previous studies. Databases MEDLINE, Embase and Web of Science were used to perform a systematic search between July and August 2017. Were included in the review randomized clinical trials (RCT) comparing the effects of CR with (CRRT) or without RT on lean body mass (LBM), fat body mass (FBM), and total body mass (BM), measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, on obese elderly individuals. The six RCTs included in the review applied RT three times per week, for 12 to 24 weeks, and most CR interventions followed diets of 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 30% fat. RT reduced 93.5% of CR-induced LBM loss (0.819 kg [0.364 to 1.273]), with similar reduction in FBM and BM, compared with CR. Furthermore, to address muscle quality, the change in strength/LBM ratio tended to be different (p = 0.07) following CRRT (20.9 ± 23.1%) and CR interventions (−7.5 ± 9.9%). Our conclusion is that CRRT is able to prevent almost 100% of CR-induced muscle loss, while resulting in FBM and BM reductions that do not significantly differ from CR.
Keywords: aging; caloric restriction; diet; exercise; muscle mass; sarcopenia; strength training; training.