I thought it would be fun to start a series of simple (scientifically validated) suggestions of changes that us UL hikers can make to decrease our total "skin-out" weight, or improve the usefulness of the body weight we hit the trail with. I will start each tip with a synopsys, and then supply a little scientific literature to support it.
Tip number one is to add some lowfat cottage cheese or casein hydrolysate powder to your diet. Throw in some moderate calorie restriction and weight training to really supercharge your results!
The study synopsys: Some overweight cops were put on three different weight loss programs. They all reduced their calorie intake 20% below their estimated maintenance needs. But those that added casein protein hydrolysate (and weight training) lost by far the most FAT (7kg or 15.4lb on average), and also gained the most muscle mass (4kg or 8.8lb average) over 12 weeks. Casein is the major component of low fat cottage cheese.
Now keep in mind we're not talking about major WEIGHT loss here. These guys only averaged 2.5kg (5.5lb) over 12 weeks, but they were able to swap a lot of fat for muscle, which is gonna be a lot more useful to most of us on the trail.
Here's the more technical synopsys:
Effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers.
We compare the effects of a moderate hypocaloric, high-protein diet and resistance training, using two different protein supplements, versus diet alone on body composition changes in overweight police officers. A randomized, prospective 12-week study was performed comparing the changes in body composition produced by three different treatments in three study groups. One group of 10 was placed on a hypocaloric diet (80% of predicted needs). A second group of 14 was placed on the same hypocaloric diet plus weight training plus a high-protein intake (1.5 g/kg/day) using a casein protein hydrolysate. In the third group of 14, treatment was identical to the second, except for the use of a whey protein hydrolysate. We found that weight LOSS was approximately 2.5 kg in all three groups. Percent body fat with diet alone decreased from a baseline of 27% to 25% at 12 weeks. With diet, exercise and casein the decrease was from 26% to 18% and with diet, exercise and whey protein the decrease was from 27% to 23% . The fat loss was 2.5kg (diet alone), 7.0kg (casein group) and 4.2kg (whey group) in the three groups, respectively. Lean muscle mass did not change for diet alone, versus gains of 4kg and 2kg in the casein and whey groups, respectively. Mean increase in strength for chest, shoulder and legs was 59% for casein and 29% for whey, a significant group difference. This significant difference in body composition and strength is likely due to improved nitrogen retention and overall anticatabolic effects caused by the peptide components of the casein hydrolysate.