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.”

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