Higher protein meals increase satiety and the thermic effect of feeding (TEF) in acute settings, but it is unclear whether these effects remain after a person becomes acclimated to energy restriction or a given protein intake. This study assessed the effects of predominant protein source (omnivorous, beef/pork vs. lacto-ovo vegetarian, soy/legume) and quantity (10%, 20%, or 30% of energy from protein) on appetite, energy expenditure, and cardio-metabolic indices during energy restriction (ER) in overweight and obese adults. Subjects were randomly assigned to one protein source and then consumed diets with different quantities of protein (4 weeks each) in a randomized crossover manner. Perceived appetite ratings (free-living and in-lab), TEF, and fasting cardio-metabolic indices were assessed at the end of each 4-week period. Protein source and quantity did not affect TEF, hunger, or desire to eat, other than a modestly higher daily composite fullness rating with 30% vs. 10% protein diet (p = 0.03). While the 20% and 30% protein diets reduced cholesterol, triacylglycerol, and APO-B vs. 10% protein (p < 0.05), protein source did not affect cardio-metabolic indices. In conclusion, diets varying in protein quantity with either beef/pork or soy/legume as the predominant source have minimal effects on appetite control, energy expenditure and cardio-metabolic risk factors during ER-induced weight loss.
Keywords: high-protein diets; metabolic syndrome; satiety; thermogenesis; weight loss.