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High-protein diets decrease body weight regardless of red meat consumption

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July 28, 2017

Adults with overweight or obesity successfully lose weight and have improved body composition and cardiometabolic health with high-protein diets, either rich or restricted in red meat, according to findings published in Obesity Science & Practice.

James O. Hill, PhD, professor of pediatrics and medicine, director of the Center for Human Nutrition and director of the Colorado Clinical Nutrition Research Unit at the University of Colorado in Denver, and colleagues evaluated 120 adults (mean age, 37.6 years) with overweight or obesity (mean BMI, 35.7 kg/m2) randomly assigned to a high-protein diet with at least four weekly servings of lean beef (n = 60) or a high-protein diet restricted in all red meats (n = 60) during a 16-week weight-loss intervention. Researchers sought to determine the effect of lean beef on changes in body weight, body composition and cardiometabolic health.

Both groups experienced similar percent weight loss (beef diet, 7.8%; no-beef diet, 7.7%) and reductions in trunk fat measured by DXA (beef diet, 4.4 kg; no-beef diet, 4.7 kg). Compared with baseline, total body mass and fat mass were significantly reduced at week 16 with no differences between the two groups. Waist circumference decreased in both groups, but the decrease was greater in the no-beef diet group (10.6 cm) compared with the beef diet group (7 cm; P = .034).

At week 16, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure and diastolic BP were reduced in both groups with no significant differences between the two. There were no changes in HDL cholesterol, glucose or HbA1c during the 16 weeks.

“Consuming lean beef within the context of a [high-protein] weight-reducing diet resulted in equivalent reductions in body weight and no difference in improvements of body composition and cardiometabolic health compared to a [high-protein diet] that was restricted in red meats,” the researchers wrote. “Results of this study demonstrate that [high-protein] diets — either rich or restricted in red meat intakes — are effective for decreasing body weight (especially body fat) and improving cardiometabolic health.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosures: Hill reports receiving royalties from the book State of Slim. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.