Protein is alright, right?? high protein diets are recommended to people wanting to lose weight but new findings published in the journal Cell Reports may have found a major health benefit completely missing from this diet regime.
The study conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis used 34 women between the ages of 50 to 65 with obesity, and they found that the women with a high-protein diet didn’t have any noticeable improvements to insulin sensitivity. It’s important that they would since it’s a good marker of metabolic health, often improving with weight loss. On the other side the women in the study who lost weight while consuming less protein experienced a 25 to 30 percent improvement in their sensitivity to insulin.
“We found that women who lost weight eating a high-protein diet didn’t experience any improvements in insulin sensitivity,” said principal investigator Bettina Mittendorfer, PhD, a professor of medicine. “However, women who lost weight while eating less protein were significantly more sensitive to insulin at the conclusion of the study. That’s important because in many overweight and obese people, insulin does not effectively control blood-sugar levels, and eventually the result is type 2 diabetes.”
There were three groups of women, a control group of women, who maintained their weight, a weight loss group with a recommended daily intake of protein of 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, and a high protein weight loss group (1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight). The two weight loss groups had no major differences in their food apart from the protein amounts. Carbs and fat were controlled for so the team could really see the effects.
“When you lose weight, about two-thirds of it tends to be fat tissue, and the other third is lean tissue,” Mittendorfer said. “The women who ate more protein did tend to lose a little bit less lean tissue, but the total difference was only about a pound. We question whether there’s a significant clinical benefit to such a small difference.”
The research isn’t finished though, as the team doesn’t know if the study applies to men yet or people already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. But in the meantime, maybe consider having a balanced amount of protein diet.