EUROPEAN UNION, 07 May (All dietetics!) – According to a study funded by the EU and carried out by the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), eating proteins is the most important factor in maintaining one’s weight after following a diet. The results were the work of the Diogenes project (“Diet, obesity and genes”) with funding of 14.5 million Euros as part of the thematic priority Sixth Framework Program Food Quality and Safety (FP6).
The aim of this six-month long study was to apply methods that allow the prevention of obesity especially through diet. The researchers observed 548 overweight or obese adults and their children in eighteen countries: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
All the adults who took part in the study followed an eight-week long weight loss program with a fixed low energy intake; they were then divided into five different dietary groups. Each diet varied as to the glycemic index level (GI) and the protein and carbohydrates content. The results showed that those people who followed the diet based on eating the most proteins had managed to maintain their weight after the eight-week program ended.
"Protein intake holds the key to effective weight maintenance after weight loss," stated Professor Arne Astrup of the University of Copenhagen, coordinator of the Diogenes project. “Taking all eight centers together and the results from the 548 adults, we are able to see that those subjects [randomly assigned] to the higher-protein diet were able to maintain that weight loss most effectively. Some subjects [randomly assigned] to the lower GI diet also had some success with weight maintenance but it was less marked than for those on the higher protein diet”.
Many modern diets claim that eating more protein is the key to weight loss, and the results of the study lend credence to this. According to the researchers, eating more protein does make us feel fuller than eating fats and carbohydrates; moreover, protein also has a more stimulating effect on energy expenditure compared with fats and carbohydrates.
'This study confirms the view that the diet chosen after weight loss does help with weight maintenance, contrary to other recently released studies which concluded that the diet makes no difference,' added Professor Astrup. 'We can have confidence in our findings and conclusions as each subject was closely monitored during the study, and there was a much lower drop-out rate in the high protein group - possibly due to successful weight management during the study period.'
Professor Astrup concluded: 'For consumers, the good news is that successful outcomes for weight management with the higher-protein diet have been achieved with relatively minor changes in diet composition. Most families would be able to make these dietary changes and help safeguard their health through better weight management.'
For further information, please consult:
* University of Copenhagen
Source: Copyright © Communautés européennes, 2009