High protein diet can't train the body to maintain a higher metabolism

November 10, 2014 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

High protein diet can't train the body to maintain a higher metabolism

New research suggests that high- and normal- protein diets are tied to higher metabolism and 45% more storage of lean tissue, or muscle mass, versus fat when compared to low-protein diets. Further, it shows that this increase in metabolism tied to a high-protein diet is not sustainable when changing to a normal-protein diet, suggesting that the human body cannot be trained to maintain a higher metabolism. Research results were unveiled last week at The Obesity Society Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.

Rather than conducting a weight-loss study, the small study explored whether high- or low- protein diets could lead to less weight gain when consuming excess calories due to the ability of the body to burn extra energy with a high-protein diet.

The researchers found that study participants all gained similar amounts of weight regardless of diet composition; however, there was a vast difference in how the body stored the excess calories. Those who consumed normal- and high- protein diets stored 45% of the excess calories as lean tissue, or muscle mass, while those who on the low-protein diet stored 95% of the excess calories as fat.

Researchers concluded that one mechanism for weight-loss success with high-protein diets, like the Atkins Diet or the Ideal Protein Diet, could be due to an increase in the body's natural process of metabolizing food for energy following meals.

The results reinforce the importance of energy deficit for weight loss, showing that weight loss regardless of diet composition is not possible without consuming fewer calories per day than those burned.

High-protein diets for weight-loss can certainly be effective, but the diet composition must be maintained for dieters to continue to see and sustain results.

Further, it's important to balance how many calories you eat and how many you burn on a daily basis. This concept, also known as energy balance, is vital for weight control.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.