Weight loss and high protein diet
Obesity often goes hand in hand with the metabolic syndrome — a cluster of five factors that include high blood pressure, a large waist circumference, elevated blood sugar and triglycerides, and reduced blood levels of HDL cholesterol.
Weight reduction is one of the first lines of defense in treating the syndrome, and researchers from the University of Ulm, Germany, have found that increased amounts of protein in the diet lead to greater improvement in metabolic syndrome risk factors when compared to a standard level of protein.
The study, presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the Obesity Society in Phoenix, enrolled 110 overweight subjects with the metabolic syndrome who were randomly divided into two groups and were followed for one year.
For the first three months — the weight loss phase — those in the high protein group were instructed to follow a diet that supplied about twice the protein obtained from a typical diet; they also replaced two meals a day with Herbalife’s European Formula 1, a meal replacement shake. The other group was instructed to eat a standard amount of protein from an all-food diet.
For the remaining nine months of the study — the weight maintenance phase — everyone used one meal replacement shake a day as part of their meal plan, and both groups maintained the level of protein intake in the diet they had consumed during the previous three months.
Everyone lost weight after a year, but the high protein group lost more weight (nearly 25 pounds, compared with about 14 pounds for the standard protein group) and more body fat, and preserved lean body mass. More significant, however, was the finding that at the end of the study, 64 percent of those in the high protein group no longer met the criteria for the metabolic syndrome, compared with 41percent who consumed the standard amount of protein.
“We knew that weight loss would improve risk factors for the metabolic syndrome,” said Marion Flechtner-Mors, PhD, one of the researchers on the study and head of the Obesity Research Group at the University of Ulm, Germany, “but we found that more subjects showed improvement in these risk factors when we increased the protein in the diet.”
Updated January 20, 2009 12:00 AM