March 3, 2014

Are you confused about protein? We don’t blame you? Just this week we’ve seen two studies hit the media with conflicting points of view.

  1. Some ground-breaking weight management research has been released from Dr Alison Gosby at Sydney University. The research found for the first time that reducing the percentage of dietary protein will result in increased total energy intake, contributing to weight problems. The research looked at the results of 38 studies over a broad range of ages.
  2. A study of mice fed a high protein diet found that they did not live as long as those on a lower protein diet. Of course mice are herbivores (see link), where us humans are omnivores.

Here are the key points of the research by Dr Gosby that can guide us all in the pursuit of healthy sustainable weight loss:

  1. All humans are hard-wired to get adequate protein in our diet – perhaps to keep our cells alive and turning over.
  2. If we don’t get adequate protein from our food and meal choices, this may drive us to continue eating and snacking until our protein levels (amino acid stores) get topped up.
  3. If we’re choosing foods based upon them being “low-fat”, “low GI” or “low sugar”, these foods may sound healthy but could be very poor sources of protein.
  4. Even using fruits as a snack sounds healthy – and is healthy if you are not wanting to lose weight or the fruit has been carefully included in a well formulated diet. But fruit supplies mainly sugar (naturally packaged) and has almost no protein.
  5. Even some foods that claim to be a “good source of protein”, like many cereals, and are very high in sugar. You’d have to eat loads to get a decent protein serve.
  6. The trick is not to have a “high protein diet” having a large steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but to ensure that you are getting some quality protein into every meal and snack.
  7. Many healthy-sounding snack bars have a lot of sugar, low fat and hardly any protein. Same for many popular shakes.
  8. There’s been plenty of research in the satiating power of protein.

Dr Gosby said, “We have shown that when people are trying to lose weight they need to look at macronutrient composition, not just calories. If you cut out calories but don’t consider protein intake, you’re going to be hungry and your diet won’t be successful. Preparing your own meals, rather than relying on energy-dense, low-protein processed foods, could make an enormous difference to the amount of food you need to consume.”

The snacks recommended on the Healthy Inspirations plans are very carefully assessed for protein quality and amount, in relationship to the carbohydrate and fat amounts, so that they are balanced snacks to help you avoid hunger while you are losing or managing your weight.

The protein serves in the Healthy Inspirations Daily Planners are carefully measured to ensure you get enough protein for satiety, blood sugar stability and effective weight loss, while at the same time ensuring you don’t eat a “high-protein” diet. But our 10 years of practical experience in weight loss with thousands of women (not mice) is that they naturally self-regulate their protein serves. If we were to suggest that they have large protein serves (which we do not) they’d turn around and say “I can’t and won’t eat all that.”

The researchers may have been able to force-feed mice a high-protein diet, but we’ve never tried – and nor would we try – to force our members to eat a high protein diet. Instead we ensure adequate protein along with a healthy intake of carbohydrate and fat, providing loads of nutrients and fibre for sustained health and weight loss.

Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Jamie Hayes

Link to story.

For extra reading on how study data can be plucked out to create a message and headline that suits the author’s and other special interest group, here’s a very good blog by Dr John Briffa. Click here.