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Keywords:

  • Obesity;
  • hypocaloric diet;
  • whey protein;
  • sucrose;
  • walking

To determine whether a fast reduction in fat mass can be achieved in 4 days by combining caloric restriction (CR: 3.2 kcal/kg body weight per day) with exercise (8-h walking + 45-min arm cranking per day) to induce an energy deficit of ∼5000 kcal/day, 15 overweight men underwent five experimental phases: pretest, exercise + CR for 4 days (WCR), control diet + reduced exercise for 3 days (DIET), and follow-up 4 weeks (POST1) and 1 year later (POST2). During WCR, the diet consisted solely of whey protein (n = 8) or sucrose (n = 7) (0.8 g/kg body weight per day). After WCR, DIET, POST1, and POST2, fat mass was reduced by a mean of 2.1, 2.8, 3.8, and 1.9 kg (P < 0.05), with two thirds of this loss from the trunk; and lean mass by 2.8, 1.0, 0.5, and 0.4 kg, respectively. After WCR, serum glucose, insulin, homeostatic model assessment, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced, and free fatty acid and cortisol increased. Serum leptin was reduced by 64%, 50%, and 33% following WCR, DIET, and POST1, respectively (P < 0.05). The effects were similar in both groups. In conclusion, a clinically relevant reduction in fat mass can be achieved in overweight men in just 4 days by combining prolonged exercise with CR.