Sex differences in energy homeostatis following a diet relatively high in protein exchanged with carbohydrate, assessed in a respiration chamber in humans

Physiol Behav. 2009 Jun 22;97(3-4):414-9. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2009.03.010. Epub 2009 Mar 21.


Context: Obesity prevalence is generally higher in women than in men, and a paucity of research with sex-specific approaches exists. The question arises whether current weight loss programmes, largely developed and tested on women, are appropriate for men.

Objective: Investigate 24 h energy metabolism, satiety and related hormones during a diet relatively high in protein (HP), exchanged with carbohydrate compared to an adequate-protein (AP) diet, in a respiration chamber in men, in comparison with previous outcomes in women.

Design: Ten healthy males (BMI: 22.5+/-1.6 kg/m(2), age: 25+/-3.5 y) were fed in energy balance with an AP (10/60/30% of energy of protein/carbohydrate/fat) or a HP (30/40/30% of energy of protein/carbohydrate/fat) diet in a randomized cross-over design.

Results: During the HP diet, 24 h Energy Expenditure (10.5+/-0.5 vs 10.0+/-0.5 MJ/d; p<0.05), Sleeping Energy Expenditure (7.1+/-0.3 vs 6.9+/-0.2 MJ/d; p<0.05), protein balance (0.5+/-0.02 vs 0.0+/-0.01 MJ/d; p<0.05), satiety (AUC) p<0.05, and plasma GLP-1 concentrations (42+/-23 vs 28+/-16 AUC; p<0.005) were significantly higher and 24 h RQ (0.80 vs 0.85; p<0.01), fat balance (-0.85+/-0.03 vs 0.05 vs 0.03 MJ/d; p<0.01) and hunger (AUC) p<0.05, were significantly lower. Comparisons reveal a stronger reaction in men in energy expenditure and substrate oxidation, whereas satiety reacted stronger in the women.

Conclusions: Effects of a diet relatively high in protein exchanged with carbohydrate, vs an adequate protein diet are a stronger increased energy expenditure, fat oxidation, protein anabolism in men, and a stronger increased satiety in women, thereby creating sex-specific conditions for long-term use for body-weight management.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Respiration / drug effects*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1