The University of Toronto found a link between weight gain and leanness and eating disorder with the psychopathology of muscle dysmorphia.
Mass Gain and Lean, a diet method characterized by alternating periods of excess calorie intake (bulk) and calorie restriction (cut) to optimize muscle growth and reduce body fat, is a practice that is in line with current body ideals. It is especially common among teenagers and young adults, in particular among those who are engaged in fitness or trying to achieve a more muscular and toned body.
Analyzing data from more than 2,700 Canadian teenagers and young adults, the researchers found that participation in bulking and cutting was associated with a greater desire to become more muscular among all groups of participants, highlighting the link between this dietary method and the desire to change one’s body.
“Our results also showed that participation in bulking and leaning was associated with symptoms of eating disorders as well as muscle dysmorphia, which is characterized as a pathological craving for increased muscle mass in both men and women,” the researchers wrote. “These findings are particularly significant given the documented increase in the prevalence of eating disorders and related behaviors during the COVID-19 pandemic.”