Research: Higher protein intake during diet results in healthier eating

Research: Higher protein intake during diet results in healthier eating | Food and Health
Research: Higher protein intake during diet results in healthier eating

According to research, eating more protein during the diet leads to healthier eating

Eating a higher proportion of protein while dieting helps prevent loss of lean body mass and also leads to better food choices, according to the findings of a new Rutgers study.

The research findings were published in the journal Obesity.

An analysis of pooled data from multiple weight loss trials conducted at Rutgers shows that increasing the amount of protein, even slightly, from 18% of a person’s food intake to 20%, has a substantial impact on the quality of the food choices made by the person. The study was published in the medical journal Obesity.

“It is somewhat remarkable that a slightly higher, self-selected protein intake during the diet is accompanied by a higher intake of green vegetables and a lower intake of refined grains and added sugar,” said Sue Shapses, study author and professor of nutritional sciences. at the Rutgers School of Biological and Environmental Sciences (SEBS). “But that is precisely what we found.”

Additionally, the researchers found that a moderately high protein intake provided another benefit for dieters: a reduced loss of lean body mass often associated with weight loss.

Weight loss regimens that employ calorie restriction can often encourage dieters to reduce their intake of healthy foods that contain micronutrients such as iron and zinc. Eating higher levels of protein is often associated with healthier outcomes, but according to the researchers, the link between protein intake and diet quality is poorly understood.

“The impact of self-selected dietary protein on diet quality has not been examined before, to our knowledge, in this way,” said study co-author Anna Ogilvie, a doctoral student in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Rutgers SEBS. “Exploring the connection between protein intake and diet quality is important because diet quality is often suboptimal in the US, and high-protein weight-loss diets are popular.”

The data was collected from more than 200 men and women who participated in clinical trials at Rutgers funded by the National Institutes of Health over the past two decades. Analysis of food records and diet quality for this study was funded by the Institute for Advancing Food and Nutritional Sciences in Washington, D.C. The participants were between the ages of 24 and 75 and recorded a body mass index that classified them as overweight or obese. All participants were encouraged to lose weight by following a 500-calorie deficit diet and met regularly for nutritional counseling and support over a six-month period.

Participants received nutritional advice based on guidelines from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Diabetes Association. They were encouraged to allocate 18 percent of their caloric intake to lean proteins, such as poultry, unprocessed red meat, fish, legumes, and dairy, and to spend the rest of their calories on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. They were discouraged from eating saturated fats, refined grains, sugar and salt.

The participants kept detailed food records, which the researchers analyzed for diet quality, specific categories of food consumed, and proportions and specific sources of protein.

Participants who self-selected their protein intake were then characterized by the researchers as either a low-protein approach with 18 percent of total calories coming from protein or a higher-protein approach with 20 percent of total calories. total food intake from protein.

The research concludes

Both the low- and high-protein groups lost the same amount of weight: about five percent of their body weight over six months. Individuals in the higher protein groups chose a healthier food combination to eat overall. Individuals in the higher protein group specifically increased their intake of green vegetables and reduced sugar and refined grains. Individuals in the higher protein group were better able to retain their lean muscle mass.

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