Consuming enough protein can help you control your weight, according to new study findings published this month.
Researchers from the University of Sydney found that, when participants were fed a diet that derived 10 percent of its daily calories from protein, they consumed 12 percent more calories over four days than they did on a 15 percent protein diet.
Moreover, 70 percent of the extra calories on the lower protein diet were attributed to snacking. When the protein content was further increased to 25%, however, the researchers observed no change in calorie intake relative to the 15% protein diet.
It has previously been suggested that protein intake plays an important role in determining overall calorie intake, and thus affects weight control. To test the hypothesis, the researchers tested 16 female and 6 male participants, all lean and in good health. The subjects spent four days on each of the three diets which differed in protein content. The diets were made as similar as possible with respect to palatability, availability, variety, and appearance.
According to the researchers, the results show that humans have a particularly strong appetite for protein, and when the proportion of protein in the diet is low this appetite can drive excess energy intake.
Source: PLoS ONE, October 2011.
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