A year on a high-protein slimming diet benefits cardiovascular system
A protein rich weight-loss diet, in which thirty percent of the energy is derived from proteins, works better than a traditional slimming diet, in which proteins make up only twenty percent of the energy provision. Moreover, a high-protein diet is just as good for your cardiovascular system as a traditional weight-loss diet - even if you stay on it for a year. Australian researchers at the University of South Australia drew this conclusion from a human study involving 68 heavily overweight men.
Protein-rich weight loss
It's pretty much generally agreed that you lose weight faster the more protein you consume, and that this kind of diet also helps retain muscle mass. It's not yet completely clear though whether there are long-term negative health effects of a high-protein diet.
In the study, which the Australians published in Nutrition & Diabetes, obese men (average age 50) were put on a diet of 1700 kcal daily for a year. As a result of this they lost weight gradually.
Half of the men were given a traditional diet: 20 percent of the energy was derived from protein and 50 percent from carbohydrates. [HC] The other half of the men were put on a high-protein weight-loss diet. [HP] The energy in this diet was derived for 30 percent from protein, and 35 percent from carbohydrates.
Both groups lost about the same amount of weight in the year that the experiment lasted. But the men who had been on the high-protein diet lost more body fat and retained more lean body mass – and, yes, the differences were statistically significant.
The men in both groups became healthier. Their blood pressure went down, their cholesterol levels improved, their blood sugar and insulin levels went down, as did the amounts of triglycerides and CRP in their blood.
"In conclusion, in overweight and obese men both a high protein and high carbohydrate diet reduced body weight and improved cardiometabolic risk factors", the researchers write. "Consumption of a high protein diet was more effective for improving body composition compared with an high carbohydrate diet."
Nutr Diabetes. 2012 Aug 13;2:e40.
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