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Protein + Exercise May Promote Weight Loss

High-Protein Diet May Enhance Effects of Exercise in Weight Loss

Amino Acid Behind Fat-Burning Effect

Layman says the weight loss advantage of a high-protein diet may be its high level of the amino acid leucine. Leucine works with insulin to stimulate protein synthesis in muscle, he says.

"The diet works because the extra protein reduces muscle loss while the low-carbohydrate component gives you low insulin, allowing you to burn fat," says Layman. "Some people refer to this as the metabolic advantage of a protein-rich diet."

He says the average American diet contains about four or five grams of leucine and to get the metabolic effects seen in this study you need 9 or 10 grams.

The study, which appears in the August issue of the Journal of Nutrition, was funded by the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the Beef Board, and Kraft Foods.

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