Diet Packed with Protein Can Beat Holiday Bulge

shutterstock_40893937Want to lose weight this holiday season instead of gain those extra pounds?

New research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition confirms that people who follow high-protein diets may have more success losing weight than those who eat less protein and more carbohydrates.

Researchers pooled results from 24 past trials that put subjects on reduced-calorie, low-fat diets.  Half of the subjects were assigned to a high-protein diet (on average, about 120 grams of protein per day), while the other half consumed a standard-protein diet (on average, about 67 grams per day).

Both diets had an average energy intake, for males and females, of 1,550 calories per day, says study author Thomas Wycherley, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow from the University of South Australia in Adelaide. But over an average of 12 weeks, people who followed the high-protein diet lost 1.7 pounds more than those in the standard-protein group.

How Does It Work?

You may lose more weight on a high-protein diet because your body spends more energy processing dietary protein than it does carbohydrates. 

For example, if you eat 100 calories of protein, your body will burn about 20 to 30 of those calories while processing the protein. Compare that to 100 calories of carbs, and your body only burns about 5 to 10 calories.

Another reason for the weight loss may be because protein helps preserve muscle mass.  And since muscle mass burns more calories than other types of mass, the additional calorie burn could result in a decrease in weight.

Protein also helps you feel full longer.  The evidence is pretty convincing that consuming more protein at breakfast will provide more appetite control for the rest of the day.  It also helps stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t crave sweets and fall off your diet.

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