High-Protein, Low-Fat Diets Are Effective for Weight Loss and Favorably Alter Biomarkers in Healthy Adults

Carol Johnston, Sherrie L. Tjonn, Pamela Swan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

145 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although popular and effective for weight loss, low-carbohydrate, high-protein, high-fat (Atkins) diets have been associated with adverse changes in blood and renal biomarkers. High-protein diets low in fat may represent an equally appealing diet plan but promote a more healthful weight loss. Healthy adults (n = 20) were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 low-fat (<30% energy), energy-restricted groups: high-protein (30% energy) or high-carbohydrate (60% energy); 24-h intakes were strictly controlled during the 6-wk trial. One subject from each group did not complete the trial due to out-of-state travel; two subjects in the high-carbohydrate group withdrew from the trial due to extreme hunger. Body composition and metabolic indices were assessed pre- and post-trial. Both diets were equally effective at reducing body weight (-6%, P < 0.05) and fat mass (-9 to -11%, P < 0.05); however, subjects consuming the high-protein diet reported more satisfaction and less hunger in mo 1 of the trial. Both diets significantly lowered total cholesterol (-10 to -12%), insulin (-25%), and uric acid (-22 to -30%) concentrations in blood from fasting subjects. Urinary calcium excretion increased 42% in subjects consuming the high-protein diet, mirroring the 50% increase in dietary calcium with consumption of this diet; thus, apparent calcium balance was not adversely affected. Creatinine clearance was not altered by diet treatments, and nitrogen balance was more positive in subjects consuming the high-protein diet vs. the high-carbohydrate diet (3.9 ± 1.4 and 0.7 ± 1.7 g N/d, respectively, P < 0.05). Thus, low-fat, energy-restricted diets of varying protein content (15 or 30% energy) promoted healthful weight loss, but diet satisfaction was greater in those consuming the high-protein diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-591
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Volume134
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2004

Keywords

  • Cholesterol
  • High-protein diets
  • Insulin response
  • Renal function
  • Satiety
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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