New findings suggest that leucine, an amino acid regulating muscle mass, helps a person maintain muscle mass and reduce body fat during weight loss.

Maintaining muscle during weight loss efforts is essential because it helps the body burn more calories. While the body makes many other amino acids, it does not produce leucine, so people need to consume foods rich in it. Leucine is found primarily in high quality protein foods such as beef, dairy products, poultry, fish and eggs.