High protein, low efficiency

| Post published on April 30, 2016
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Weight-loss diets high in protein can have detrimental effect on your metabolism

Being overweight or obese puts you at a high risk for type 2 diabetes because it reduces your insulin sensitivity – the ability of your body to react to the hormone insulin, essential for energy metabolism. Weight loss usually means improved insulin sensitivity – a win-win. However, in a study of obese postmenopausal women, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine found that using high-protein diets for weight loss doesn’t improve insulin sensitivity at all!

In this study, women on high-protein diets lost weight but didn’t experience any insulin sensitivity improvements so their diabetes risk remained high. On the other hand, women whose diets were lower in protein lost weight and their insulin sensitivity significantly improved – by 25-30 per cent. That not only reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes but also of heart disease.

High-protein diets only ever produce short term ‘superficial’ results, whilst healthier, plant-based diets have positive and significant long-term effect on your health.

Smith GI et al., 2016. High-Protein Intake during Weight Loss Therapy Eliminates the Weight-Loss-Induced Improvement in Insulin Action in Obese Postmenopausal Women. Cell Reports. 17(3): 849-861.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
I joined Viva! as a health campaigner in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. My scientific training helped me research and write numerous reports, guides and fact sheets for Viva! including Meat the Truth, Fish-Free for Life, One in Nine (breast cancer and diet) and the substantial report on the detrimental health effects of consuming dairy; White Lies. This accompanied Viva!’s report The Dark Side of Dairy which spelt out the inherent cruelty of dairy farming. We were the first UK group to take on the dairy industry in this way, and many of our supporters go vegan after reading these reports.

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