Research suggests that consuming additional protein aids in weight loss.

In the U.S., weight problems has never been an issue as severe as it is right now. A current research indicates that more individuals are now on diets. Could it be that despite our best intentions, we’ve been weight loss plan incorrect?

In fact, this is what a team of scientists from the Alberta Diabetes Institute at the College of Alberta suggests. The American Journal of Scientific Nutrition published their new study, which shows that while we are busy trying to survive on the high-fat, ketogenic diet and shun meat in favor of a plant-based diet, we should be eating more protein if we want to lose weight. (Associated with: 15 Underrated Tips for Weight Loss that Work.)

Carla M. Prado Ph.D. and her team of scientists at the College of Alberta knew that “whole meal replacements” (short term diets consisting of only nutritionally complete meal replacements), would be an effective weight loss technique for people with obesity-related conditions such as type 2 diabetes. They also knew that diets high in protein could help with weight management by promoting feelings of satiety and increased energy. They didn’t know how these two diet ideas could work together for healthy, normal-weight adults.

Scientists recruited 44 healthy adults aged 18-35, 19 females and 24 men, to spend 32 hour in a metabolism chamber (a sealed space that measures oxygen and carbon dioxide as well as nitrogen to provide a detailed look at metabolism). Scientists randomly divided the subjects into two groups and fed them according to this:

The other half was fed a substitute for the whole food plan (35 % carbohydrate, 40 % proteins, and 25 % lipids).
The authors of the study referred to the food plan as “the typical North American diet sample”, which consisted of a mixture of carbohydrates (55%) and proteins (15%), with fats (30%).
The most important thing to note is that both teams were fed the same amount of energy.

The two groups differed significantly in how their diets affected their metabolism, despite having consumed the same amount of calories. The metabolic readings for the high-protein group showed higher levels of energy expenditure and fat oxidation (two signs of weight loss) than those of the other group. It seems that the high-protein diet was more effective at causing weight loss.

It seems that eating more protein may be the key to weight loss, at least for healthy, non-obese adult men and women. Dr. Prado told Science Day that more research is needed to determine the long-term effects of high-protein eating and how these results might translate to adults who have weight issues. This study should help scientists better understand the effects of high-protein dieting while adding to the discussion that “a caloric is not just a caloric.”

Here are 29 great sources of protein to help you lose weight. If you have switched to a plant-based diet, here are 26 vegetarian protein sources that you should consider.

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