From: Editor, Justmeans, More from this Affiliate
Published May 14, 2013 08:44 AM

Eating More Protein is Associated with Weight Loss

At some point in our lives, we have been on some kind of diet or other. There is the 'cabbage soup diet'; '5:2 diet'; and then high protein diets such as Atkins, Zone and South Beach, etc. Some people turn to higher-protein diets to lose weight, because some studies suggest that higher-protein diets help people better control their appetites and calorie intake. Diets with 30 per cent protein are now considered "reasonable" and the term "high protein diet" is now reserved for diets with over 50 per cent protein.

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Now, a new study released in the May/June 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, reports that ''eating more protein'' to prevent weight gain is associated with reported weight loss. The research from the University of Minnesota in the U.S. surveyed 1,824 midlife women in the age group 40-60. You need protein at all stages of life. It is the major component of all cells, including muscle and bone. It's needed for growth, development and immunity to fight off infections and protect the body. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is for men 56 grams a day and for women 46 grams a day.

This latest study focused on three key factors: first, how these women describe and recognise protein sources and requirements; second, identify the reported frequency of using the ''eating more protein'' practice to prevent weight gain; and lastly, compare reported protein intake to reported frequency of using the ''eating more protein'' practice to prevent weight gain.

On the whole, most women who participated in this research correctly pinpointed good protein sources, while the majority could indicate the daily per cent of dietary energy recommended from protein. ''Eating more protein'' to prevent weight gain was reported by 43% of women (and more than half of obese women) as a practice to prevent weight gain. Reported use of this practice was related to self-reported weight loss over two years. Two factors associated with effective use of this practice included the level of protein intake and self-efficacy toward weight management. Noel Aldrich, lead author of this report says, "Education regarding dietary protein requirements may enhance the use of this practice. Given that the majority of Americans are overweight, identifying the most effective practices and related factors surrounding successful weight loss and prevention of weight gain are important."

Is it possible to eat too much protein? There are no dangers associated with higher intakes of protein, unless you have a kidney or liver problem.

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Protein image via Shutterstock.

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