But Trim Fat to Keep Calories in Check, Say Researchers
July 13, 2005 -- If your appetite is wrecking your diet, protein might help, new research shows.
Protein may help patrol the space between you, the fridge/menu/vending machine, and belt-busting eating habits.
You needn't banish carbohydrates from your plate, researchers write in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Of course, there's a catch. Forget about slathering protein in fat-laden sauces. Mind your calories, too, and expect more studies to probe the matter.
Still interested? If so, here are the appetite experiment's details.
Step No. 1: Full Disclosure
Nineteen healthy adults from Seattle took part. They were about 41 years old, on average.
Average BMI (body mass index) was 26. That's overweight but not obese.
First, they wrote down every morsel they ate for three days. Then, they checked in with a dietitian to make sure they didn't skimp or gorge on carbs.
Next, they got a heads-up from the researchers, who included University of Washington endocrinologist David Weigle, MD.
Weight loss isn't the study's point, Weigle's team told subjects. Those hoping for weight loss were dismissed.
Step No. 2: Head to the Kitchen
Participants got carry-out meals -- and a few ground rules -- from the researchers.
Rule No. 1: Only eat the food provided. Rule No. 2: Eat all of it.
For the first two weeks, half of all calories came from carbs, 15% from protein, and 35% from fat.
Then, protein was doubled and fat was halved. Carbs held steady throughout the study.
Step No. 3: Eat as Much as You Like
Four weeks into the study, the rules changed.
The higher-protein foods remained. But subjects no longer had to eat all of it.
Step No. 4: Weighing the Results
Weight didn't change during the study's first two phases. But participants reported feeling fuller on the higher-protein diet.
When they didn't have to eat all the higher-protein food, they ate about 441 calories less per day. As a result, they lost nearly 11 pounds, about 8 pounds of which was fat.