To Feel Fuller, Fill Up on Protein

A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition tested 19 subjects on three different diets. Researchers measured appetite, caloric intake, body weight, and fat mass, as well as blood measurements for insulin, leptin (the hormone responsible for satiety) and ghrelin (the hunger hormone) during each of the phases.

First, subjects followed a weight-maintenance diet of 15% protein, 35% fat, and 50% carbohydrate for two weeks.

Next, the subjects ate the same number of calories (an "isocaloric" diet), but with a different nutrient breakdown (30% protein, 20% fat, and 50% carbohydrate) for two weeks. This diet resulted in markedly increased satiety, although leptin levels did not change.

Finally, subjects followed an "ad libitum" diet (no caloric requirement or restriction), but were required to meet a specific nutrient breakdown of 30% protein, 20% fat, and 50% carbohydrate for 12 weeks. In this phase, participants spontaneously ate 376-504 fewer calories per day, and decreased both body weight and body fat. However, leptin levels decreased and ghrelin levels increased.

The researchers concluded that increasing protein intake from 15% to 30% of calories, with a constant carbohydrate intake, may be beneficial to weight loss.

Action Sparked
This 30% protein, 50% carbohydrate diet fits into the healthy distribution range set by the Food and Nutrition Board, the Institute of Medicine, and National Academy of Sciences. It appears to benefit those trying to lose weight and body fat. The trouble is that many sources of protein are also high in fat. For healthy protein sources, select low-fat dairy products (milk, cheese and yogurt), egg whites or egg substitutes. To enjoy lean meats, trim off excess fat and remove skin. Select cooking methods that limit fat such as grilling, baking or broiling. Many plant proteins, such as tofu, beans, legumes and other soy products are naturally low in fat as well.
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Member Comments

thank you Report
Great info Report
I have a real hard time getting my protein above 20%... do I have to eat 2 steaks for dinner? I would not mind that actually.... Report
Good info. Report
I always struggle trying to eat enough protein (diabetic), some days are better than others. Report
Great article. Report
Thanks for the info. Always wonder if I'm eating the RIGHT types of protein Report
Great article, gave me some ideas Report
Good information! Report
This certainly leaves bariatric patients out in the cold - 50% carbs is through the roof. I only get 35-50 gr / day. High protein yes. Report
I'd like to know who funded this "2 Week" study. Carbs dominate our stores, refrigerators, thoughts and our over weight bodies. Good carbs, bad carbs...the bad carbs are sautrated in the supermarket. Manufacturers and these type of studies make us believe we need carbs. Truth is, our bodies need protein and fat much more than carbs. Protein reduces your appetite and keeps it low for hours. No need to get technical, just practical. Half my plate is protein the other half is veggies and salad. Report
I would have a hard time eating that much protein, or that little fat. Report
I've known that for sometime. that's why my doctors have me on low carb food plan.
When i first started Spark, i chose their meal plans. OMG, too many carbs. I used it for a few weeks, gained lbs. I still listed the foods, but didn't eat the carbs, added more protein. I lost weight and had way more energy.
That lead me to create my own meals. it took longer to set up, but soon i created groups and that way tracking is much easier.
Not everyone processes carbs the same, that also enters into how we lose weight. Report
50% carbs is absolute hogwash, and so is the demonization of fat (saturated fats in particular, as consumption of saturated fats is the most effective lifestyle intervention for raising HDL cholesterol, which is CVD protective). I totally agree with the previous comment that carb intakes at that level are a recipe for obesity, as well as Type 2 diabetes.

The author is "toeing the party line". Do a little research into who is funding these multiple associations and researchers she lists at the bottom of the article (I can guarantee the agricultural lobbies have a significant hand in this, as well as the pharmaceutical industry).

YouTube has a great documentary called "My Big Fat Diet", shows the results the people in a very overweight and diabetic community achieved by increasing their fat intake and reducing their carbs. Many were able to reduce if not discontinue their medications in a very short period fo time. Report


About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.