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Weighty problem: Protein is the solution?

ass. At the end of each phase blood samples were taken to measure insulin, leptin (the hormone responsible for hunger) and ghrelin (the satiety hormone).

Results were as follows:-

1. Satiety was 'markedly increased' with the isocaloric diet but leptin was unchanged.

2. With the ad libitum high protein diet, average spontaneous calorie intake decreased by between 376 and 504 per day, body weight decreased by between 4.4 and 5.4 kg and fat mass decreased by 3.3 to 4.1 kg. Leptin levels 'significantly decreased' during this phase and ghrelin increased.

3. As carbohydrate remained at 50 percent during all three phases, the effects of the ad libitum diet would appear to be due to the high protein intake.

These results point to the conclusion that the simplistic approach to weight loss would be administration of high protein diets to obese subjects. True? Well the answer depends on the adverse effects of such a recommendation. Should the obese increase the protein intake from 10 to 20 percent of calories to 20 to 30 percent?

According to research Institute of Medicine, it has found no clear evidence that high protein intake increases the risk of renal stones, osteoporosis, cancer or cardiovascular disease, and sets the acceptable range of protein intake as between 10 and 35 percent of calories.

On the flip side obesity increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, arthritis, asthma and back problems. But technically speaking many protein rich sources also contributes the much-dreaded saturated fats in the diet. And saturated fats are known to raise LDL 'bad' cholesterol levels.

"It is preferable to replace sugars from soft drinks with protein from low fat milk, high-fat milk and dairy products with the lean versions, and possibly white bread and pasta with lean meat, without reducing the intakes of fruit, vegetables and whole-grain products," said Astrup.
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