With so many diets, workout regimes and various types of convoluted fitness plans floating around promising a sure-fire pathway to six-packs and lean muscle, it's difficult to know which one to follow for the optimum results.

Well, a group of Canadian scientists have allegedly cracked the precise formula for men to lose weight and gain muscle quickly, and basically it boils down to 'eat less food, eat more protein and lift weights.'

The bad news is that it still involves 'intense' exercise and cutting food intake by a whopping 40% of normally required levels, neither of which sound particularly healthy or sustainable in the long-term.

However, they tested 40 young men split into two groups, had them follow a similar six-day workout/diet for a month. The only difference is that one group consumed more protein that the other - and this group lost an average of 10.5lbs each, and gained an average of 2.5lbs in muscle. The other group lost an average of 8lbs each, but did not gain any muscle.

Of course, the idea that protein helps to build muscle is not exactly revelatory, but such results in a relatively short period of time is impressive, nonetheless.

Professor Stuart Phillips said: "We wanted to see how quickly we could get them into shape: lose some fat, but still retain their muscle and improve their strength and fitness. Exercise, particularly lifting weights, provides a signal for muscle to be retained even when you're in a big calorie deficit."

Their next step is to work out how to develop their findings into a regime that is actually sustainable - i.e. how to lose weight, build muscle and continue to consume donuts, chips and beer. The same team also plan to conduct a similar study on the female body. Please hurry up.

Via Independent.co.uk