A high-protein diet drives weight loss and the burning of belly fat, studies reveal.
Eating more lean meats and low-fat dairy leads to more weight loss than a standard calorie restricted diet, researchers have found.
Protein makes people feel more satisfied so they subsequently eat less.
Diets that have more protein are also linked to better sleep.
Sleeping better can also lead to more weight loss.
For the study, 130 overweight women were put on a calorie restricted diet.
Half, though, ate a restricted diet that was high in protein and dairy.
Dr Ellen Evans, study co-author, said:
“Essentially we substituted lean meats and low-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, etc., for some of the high-carbohydrate foods in the food-pyramid diet.
Participants also ate five servings of vegetables and two to three servings of fruit each day.”
The results showed that the women lost weight without losing bone mass.
Dr Evans said:
“This is an important finding because many people, especially women in mid-life, are concerned with both obesity and osteoporosis.
Furthermore, treating obesity often increases risk for osteoporosis.
Many people lose bone mass when they lose weight.”
People in the high protein group had better bone health despite their weight loss.
Dr Matthew Thorpe, the study’s’ first author, said:
“In the higher-protein group, bone density remained fairly stable, but bone health declined over time in the group that followed the conventional higher-carbohydrate diet.
A statistically significant treatment effect favored the higher-protein diet group.
The combination and/or interaction of dietary protein, calcium from dairy, and the additional vitamin D that fortifies dairy products appears to protect bone health during weight loss.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Nutrition (Thorpe et al., 2008).