Is a high-protein diet the key to weight-loss?


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In the last few years there have been a number of studies to suggest a high-protein diet can help you reach your weight-loss goals. Now, a new study has shed light on the link between protein in-take and weight-loss… and it may be the key to unlocking preventive treatment strategies for obesity. Does this finally confirm it’s the answer to all our weight-loss prayers?

Is a high-protein diet the key to weight-loss?

We all know that high-protein levels found in animal foods like milk, eggs, chicken, and fish can act as an appetite suppressant. By uncovering processes by which protein curbs appetite, researchers could now be a step closer to developing new weight control strategies.

In a new study from the Imperial College London, researchers discovered an amino acid called phenylalanine which aids the digestion of protein. Phenylalanine boosts the hormone levels that send signals to the brain telling us that we are full. This could be why high-protein diets are successful in suppressing hunger.

The researchers conducted a series of experiments on rodents, which involved testing the effects of phenylalanine. Firstly, they gave 10 mice and rats a single dose of phenylalanine and compared them with rodents that were not given the enzyme.

They found that the rodents given phenylalanine showed increased levels of the hormone GLP-1, which suppresses appetite, but reduced levels of the hormone ghrelin, which increases hunger. Interesting! Additionally, they discovered that amino acid reduced the rodents’ food intake thereby increasing weight loss.

Next, the team administered regular doses of phenylalanine to rodents with diet-induced obesity over a 7-day period.

Compared with mice that were not treated with phenylalanine, those that received the amino acid showed a reduction in weight, the researchers report.

According to Marina Norton and her team who conducted the experiments, their findings may fuel much-needed new strategies to tackle the obesity epidemic. And this is just the beginning… further studies are needed to pinpoint the exact mechanisms by which phenylalanine can curb hunger and aid weight-loss, and if it will have the same appetite-suppressing effects in humans.

While this study could open to door to a weight-loss miracle, just remember… everything in moderation. While high-protein diets may help you shed a few kilos, they can affect your health if you continue with them for an indefinite period of time.

Written by: Gina Baretta

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