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. 2014 Nov 19;11(1):53.
doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-11-53. eCollection 2014.

A High-Protein Diet for Reducing Body Fat: Mechanisms and Possible Caveats

Free PMC article

A High-Protein Diet for Reducing Body Fat: Mechanisms and Possible Caveats

Dominik H Pesta et al. Nutr Metab (Lond). .
Free PMC article


High protein diets are increasingly popularized in lay media as a promising strategy for weight loss by providing the twin benefits of improving satiety and decreasing fat mass. Some of the potential mechanisms that account for weight loss associated with high-protein diets involve increased secretion of satiety hormones (GIP, GLP-1), reduced orexigenic hormone secretion (ghrelin), the increased thermic effect of food and protein-induced alterations in gluconeogenesis to improve glucose homeostasis. There are, however, also possible caveats that have to be considered when choosing to consume a high-protein diet. A high intake of branched-chain amino acids in combination with a western diet might exacerbate the development of metabolic disease. A diet high in protein can also pose a significant acid load to the kidneys. Finally, when energy demand is low, excess protein can be converted to glucose (via gluconeogenesis) or ketone bodies and contribute to a positive energy balance, which is undesirable if weight loss is the goal. In this review, we will therefore explore the mechanisms whereby a high-protein diet may exert beneficial effects on whole body metabolism while we also want to present possible caveats associated with the consumption of a high-protein diet.

Keywords: Energy expenditure; High-protein diet; Satiety; Thermic effect of food; Weight loss.

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