Claims about the merits or risks of carbohydrate (CHO) vs. protein for weight loss diets are extensive, yet the ideal ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein for adult health and weight management remains unknown. This study examined the efficacy of two weight loss diets with modified CHO/protein ratios to change body composition and blood lipids in adult women. Women (n = 24; 45 to 56 y old) with body mass indices >26 kg/m(2) were assigned to either a CHO Group consuming a diet with a CHO/protein ratio of 3.5 (68 g protein/d) or a Protein Group with a ratio of 1.4 (125 g protein/d). Diets were isoenergetic, providing 7100 kJ/d, and similar amounts of fat ( approximately 50 g/d). After consuming the diets for 10 wk, the CHO Group lost 6.96 +/- 1.36 kg body weight and the Protein Group lost 7.53 +/- 1.44 kg. Weight loss in the Protein Group was partitioned to a significantly higher loss of fat/lean (6.3 +/- 1.2 g/g) compared with the CHO Group (3.8 +/- 0.9). Both groups had significant reductions in serum cholesterol ( approximately 10%), whereas the Protein Group also had significant reductions in triacylglycerols (TAG) (21%) and the ratio of TAG/HDL cholesterol (23%). Women in the CHO Group had higher insulin responses to meals and postprandial hypoglycemia, whereas women in the Protein Group reported greater satiety. This study demonstrates that increasing the proportion of protein to carbohydrate in the diet of adult women has positive effects on body composition, blood lipids, glucose homeostasis and satiety during weight loss.