A high protein intake allows for a healthier diet

THE ESSENTIAL

  • A body mass index of over 25 is considered overweight.
  • The National Health Security Agency recommends consuming 0.83 g/kg/day of protein for an adult.

Meat, fish, eggs, lentils, dairy products, tofu: there are many sources of protein. In the case of dieting, it is better to consume enough. This is the result of a study published in the journal obesityA high proportion of protein in the diet contributes to a better nutritional balance.

National Recommendations

This work, carried out by a scientific team from Rutgers University in New Jersey, involved 200 people, men and women. The participants, aged 24 to 75, were either obese or overweight. All followed a restrictive diet, reducing their intake by 500 calories per day. For six months, they had regular appointments with nutritionists. The advice given followed the recommendations of the American Diabetes Association: Participants were encouraged to increase the protein portion of their calorie intake by consuming more lean proteins, such as poultry, unprocessed red meat, fish, legumes and dairy, and spending the rest of their calories on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Conversely, they were encouraged to reduce saturated fat, refined grains, sugar and salt.

The scientists gave them two options: a low-protein diet with 18% of total calories coming from protein, or a higher-protein diet with 20% of total food intake coming from protein. Throughout the study, participants completed detailed food logs, which the researchers analyzed to determine diet quality, specific food categories eaten, and protein ratios and sources.

Better food choices

The researchers found that weight loss was similar in both groups regardless of protein percentage. On average, it’s equivalent to 5% of their total weight in six months. In contrast, people in the higher protein group tended to choose healthier foods. For example, they increased their intake of green vegetables and reduced their intake of sugar and refined grains. According to the researchers, this also allowed them to maintain their muscle mass.

He is It is noteworthy that slightly higher self-chosen protein intake during a diet is associated with higher intake of green vegetables and lower intake of refined grains and added sugarssays Sue Shapses, author of the study and professor of nutrition at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). More studies should be done on this topic, with different participants, such as older people or children.

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