The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Date: 12/1999
Summary: Very limited data suggest that meat consumption by older people may promote skeletal muscle hypertrophy in response to resistance training (RT). The objective of this study was to assess whether the consumption of an omnivorous (meat-containing) diet would influence RT-induced changes in whole-body composition and skeletal muscle size in older men compared with a lactoovovegetarian (LOV) (meat-free) diet. Nineteen men aged 51–69 y participated in the study. During a 12-wk period of RT, 9 men consumed their habitual omnivorous diets, which provided ≈50% of total dietary protein from meat sources (beef, poultry, pork, and fish) (mixed-diet group). Another 10 men were counseled to self-select an LOV diet (LOV-diet group). Maximal strength of the upper- and lower-body muscle groups that were exercised during RT increased by 10–38% (P < 0.001), independent of diet. The RT-induced changes in whole-body composition and skeletal muscle size differed significantly between the mixed- and LOV-diet groups (time-by-group interactions, P < 0.05). With RT, whole-body density, fat-free mass, and whole-body muscle mass increased in the mixed diet group but decreased in the LOV- diet group. Type II muscle fiber area of the vastus lateralis muscle increased with RT for all men combined (P < 0.01), and the increase tended to be greater in the mixed-diet group (16.2 ± 4.4 %) than in the LOV diet group (7.3 ± 5.1%). Type I fiber area was unchanged with RT in both diet groups. Consumption of a meat-containing diet contributed to greater gains in fat-free mass and skeletal muscle mass with RT in older men than did an LOV diet.