Dietary protein enhances satiety and promotes weight loss, but the mechanisms by which appetite is affected remain unclear. We investigated the role of gut hormones, key regulators of ingestive behavior, in mediating the satiating effects of different macronutrients. In normal-weight and obese human subjects, high-protein intake induced the greatest release of the anorectic hormone peptide YY (PYY) and the most pronounced satiety. Long-term augmentation of dietary protein in mice increased plasma PYY levels, decreased food intake, and reduced adiposity. To directly determine the role of PYY in mediating the satiating effects of protein, we generated Pyy null mice, which were selectively resistant to the satiating and weight-reducing effects of protein and developed marked obesity that was reversed by exogenous PYY treatment. Our findings suggest that modulating the release of endogenous satiety factors, such as PYY, through alteration of specific diet constituents could provide a rational therapy for obesity.