Higher protein intake while dieting leads to healthier eating: Study

The impact of self-selected dietary protein on diet quality has not been examined before

Eating a larger proportion of protein while dieting leads to better food choices and helps avoid the loss of lean body mass, according to a Rutgers study in the US.

An analysis of pooled data from multiple weight-loss trials conducted at Rutgers shows that increasing the amount of protein even slightly, from 18 percent of a person’s food intake to 20 percent, has a substantial impact on the quality of the food choices made by the person. The study was published in the medical journal Obesity.

“It’s somewhat remarkable that a self-selected, slightly higher protein intake during dieting is accompanied by higher intake of green vegetables, and reduced intake of refined grains and added sugar,” said Sue Shapses, author of the study and a professor of nutritional sciences at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). “But that’s precisely what we found.”

In addition, the researchers found a moderately higher intake of protein provided another benefit to the dieters: a reduced loss of lean body mass often associated with weight loss.

image credit- shutterstock

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