Dr. Batterham found eating more protein releases an anti-hunger hormone
People who are livin' la vida low-carb have long known the benefits of getting adequate amounts of protein in their diet. But a new study explains in a little more detail why higher protein consumption is good for people attempting to lose weight.
Lead researcher Dr. Rachel Batterham, MRC/AMS Clinician Scientist Fellow in the Department of Medicine at University College London in England, conducted a comparison study of normal-weight and obese people to see what impact adding protein to their diet would have on the presence of an important hunger-controlling hormone called peptide YY (PYY).
PYY was previously determined by researchers to help study participants eat one-third less food in both the normal-weight and obese people when it was injected into their bodies. However, Dr. Batterham said the greater presence of protein in the body creates the same effect.
"We've now found that increasing the protein content of the diet augments the body's own PYY, helping to reduce hunger and aid weight loss," she found.
In fact, Dr. Batterham even tried a high-fat diet as well as a high-carbohydrate diet on both normal-weight and obese people to see if production of PYY would be similar, but it was not. She even conducted the study in mice and the results were the same as in humans.
Interestingly, the study found that high-protein consumption REDUCED CALORIC INTAKE naturally because the PYY acted as an appetite suppressant mechanism in the body. Mice that were fed a high-protein diet produced more PYY and, thus, gained less weight than the mice that ate normal portions of protein.
Additionally, the researchers discovered that mice who had their body's ability to make PYY removed ate much more food and rapidly became obese. When these genetically-altered mice were fed high-protein diets, it made little difference in their weight which points to a direct link between protein consumption and this hormone known as PYY. Incidentally, these mice were injected with PYY and immediately began losing weight.
Dr. Batterham says this study almost verifiably points to the lack of PYY production as one of the causes of obesity and that adding more protein to your diet can boost the production of this important hormone.
"One potential weight loss strategy is therefore to increase the satiating power of the diet and promote weight loss through the addition of dietary protein--harnessing our own satiety system," she concluded.
The results of this study appear in the September 2006 issue of the scientific journal Cell Metabolism.
Of course, eating more protein to ward off hunger is the basis for the popular "Total Wellbeing Diet" that is all the rage in Australia. It's all about that beautiful word known as SATIETY--feeling satisfied to the point that you just aren't hungry. Now thanks to Dr. Batterham we know it has to do with the PYY production. See, I told you research would start catching up to us sooner or later.
This is the first such study that explains WHY protein works so well to naturally reduce calorie consumption while keeping you full and satisfied for hours which results in eating less. It's one of the beautiful things about the low-carb lifestyle.
Dr. Batterham made an important observation about eating high-protein.
"Such a diet is perhaps more typical to that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors," she said, lamenting that the people of today eat about half as much protein as their ancestors did.
She still wants to conduct larger, long-term studies to confirm the findings of her study, but Dr. Batterham quickly stated that this would not be the same as the Atkins diet since it does not advocate saturated fat consumption with the protein.
Okay, true enough. But it's still a GIANT step in the right direction, Dr. Batterham, and those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb appreciate honest research like yours that is showing the healthy benefits of a high-protein diet. We look forward to hearing more about your research in the coming years as it proves this way of eating is the best way to manage weight and health.
You can e-mail Dr. Rachel Batterham about her study at firstname.lastname@example.org.