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Protein diets, body weight loss and weight maintenance

Martens, Eveline A.P.; Westerterp-Plantenga, Margriet S.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2014 - Volume 17 - Issue 1 - p 75–79
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000006
PROTEIN, AMINO ACID METABOLISM AND THERAPY: Edited by Olav Rooyackers and John Brosnan

Purpose of review The review addresses briefly the relevance of protein diets for body weight loss and weight maintenance. The addition of recent findings on age-dependent protein requirements, specific effects of protein intake and protein source, the relevance of the other dietary macronutrients, especially of ‘low-carb’, ‘protein leverage’, the mechanisms of protein-induced satiety, and food-reward makes the review up-to-date.

Recent findings Different effects of protein diets in different age groups result from age-dependent protein requirements that are primarily related to effects on body composition. A protein intake of 0.8 g/kg/day is sufficient to sustain a negative energy balance in adults, irrespective of the protein source. ‘Low-carb’ diets trace back to the protein-induced effects. Evidence that protein intake drives energy intake as suggested by the ‘Protein leverage hypothesis’ is scarce and equivocal. Finally, limited protein-induced food reward may affect compliance to a protein diet.

Summary An implication of the findings for clinical practice is that a protein intake of 0.8–1.2 g/kg/day is sufficient to sustain satiety, energy expenditure, and fat-free mass, independent of a dietary ‘low-carb’ content. Limited protein-induced food reward may affect compliance to a protein diet.

Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 433881566; e-mail: m.westerterp@maastrichtuniversity.nl

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins