National survey reveals that women lose weight on high-protein diets

High-protein diets have been the rage over the last few decades.

Whether it's Atkins, The Zone, South Beach or Paleo, this type of diet is touted as a fast and effective way to lose weight.

And a new study reveals that a high percentage of women is using this strategy to prevent new weight gain - a method that seems to help them shed pounds and keep them off.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota surveyed 1,824 women who were 40 to 60 years old to identify how much protein they thought they should be eating and how this related to the prevention of weight gain and weight loss.

Most women were able to correctly identify which sources of protein were "good," and the majority could also say how much of their daily dietary energy should be coming from protein sources.

Adding protein to lose weight

Forty-three percent of the women - and more than half of obese women - said they increased their protein intake as a way to prevent putting on pounds. This practice was directly related to self-reported weight loss over two years.

The women who were most effective at this strategy were the ones who had appropriate levels of protein intake compared to other nutrients and who were more inclined toward weight management in other areas of their lives.

Education is key

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 46 grams per day for women ages 19 to 70. Protein can include meat and fish, but there are also plenty of plant-based sources of protein, such as lentils, beans, tofu, hemp and chia.

"Education regarding dietary protein requirements may enhance the use of this practice," Noel Aldrich, lead study author, said in a press release. "Women may need more information regarding protein energy content and effective selection of protein sources to enhance protein intake as a weight management strategy.

The fact that most Americans are overweight, Aldrich notes, makes dietary education about weight gain prevention even more critical.

The study is published in the May/June 2013 issues of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

Source: Science Daily

Photo by John Nyboer

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