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Does Eating More Protein Help Keep The Pounds Off?

sharma-obesity-diogeneslogoAs a regular reader, you may remember the DIOGENES trial, which studied the impact of different levels of protein intake on sustaining a weight-loss induced by eight weeks of a low-calorie formula diet (800 Kcal resulting in an average weight loss of about 11 Kg).

The original paper showed that individuals on a high-protein diet (providing 12 % more energy from protein that the low-protein diet) were about half as likely to discontinue the 26 week trial than those on a low-protein intake.

Now, a new paper from DIOGENES, published in the International Journal of Obesity, reports on the weight outcomes in participants, who were followed for up to 12 months in two of the participating centres (n=256).

The five ad libitum diets (no caloric restrictions) that followed the low-calorie diet (resulting in an average weight loss of about 11 Kg) were:

1) a low-protein and low-glycemic index diet,

2) a low-protein and high-glycemic-index diet,

3) a high-protein and low-glycemic-index diet,

4) a high-protein and high-glycemic-index diet,

5) a control diet.

While average weight regain over the 12-months was about 4 Kg (of the 11 Kg lost initially), the subjects on the high-protein diets kept off almost twice as much weight as those on the low-protien diets (glycemic index did not appear to make any significant difference).

Thus, the authors conclude that following a higher-protein ad libitum diet improves weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults over 12 months.

Clinicians may wish to stress the importance of maintaining a high-normal protein intake to clients trying to avoid regaining pounds that they have lost.

Edmonton, AB



  1. The findings from the CODING study at the population level provided evidence that dietary protein intakes regardless of sources are the significant factor in determining percent body fat measured by DXA. Our findings indicate that higher dietary protein intake is associated with lower percent body fat. This beneficial effect is found in both men and women and independent of age, physical activity level, smoking, menopausal status and medication use. detailed information can be found in the website:
    My lab performed further analysis on the components of dietary protein and found essential amino acids are more important in determining body compositions.

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  2. So does this support the Keto/ketogenic/atkins type of diets?

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  3. I have been controlling my carb consumption for the pasy year and I can say this diet method really helped me lose weight. I did read somewhere that people who eat a lot of meat are more likely to develop intestinal cancer though and this really scared me. Now every once in a while I indulge on pastries and pastas 🙂

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  4. The findings from the Newfoundland CODING study show the beneficial effect of dietary protein intake at the population level. It is generally a observational study without any intervention. The source of protein is not limited to meat only rather than all sources. there might be a reason to concern you if you consume too much meat especially when the meat is cooked on barbecue in which the high temperature produce carcinogen potentially causing cancer.
    The mechanism regarding how dietary protein might be beneficial to keep your body fat low is not entirely clear. We should not expect one way including taking more dietary protein to keep a healthy body weight. The most important thing is the balance of calorie we take in and the calorie we burn.

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