Dietary protein and appetite sensations in individuals with overweight and obesity: a systematic review

Eur J Nutr. 2020 Sep;59(6):2317-2332. doi: 10.1007/s00394-020-02321-1. Epub 2020 Jul 10.


Purpose: This systematic review aimed to synthesize the available evidence on the effects of a high-protein diet on appetite sensations in individuals with overweight and obesity.

Methods: Two authors independently conducted literature searches, study selection, design of the method, and quality appraisal. The main inclusion criteria were studies involving protocols that present a protein intake greater than 1.2 g/kg/day or 25% of the total daily energy content compared to a normal protein diet, i.e., 0.8-1.2 g/kg/day or 15%-20% of the total energy content. Studies that evaluated test meals or diet within a period of less than 7 days and participants with diabetes, cancer, or other specific conditions were excluded from this review. The literature search was updated until November 2019 using the main databases available.

Results: Of a total of 4191 records, ten articles met the inclusion criteria and included a total of 1079 subjects. In six studies, participants experienced enhanced fullness or satiety in response to a high-dietary protein intake, of which four studies had an intervention period of 10-12 weeks.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that among individuals with overweight or obesity, higher dietary protein intake may influence appetite sensations by enhancing fullness or satiety. The low level of evidence, due to the heterogeneity of the protocols and the high risk of bias, highlights the need for further studies to confirm these results.

Keywords: Appetite; Dietary assessment; Hunger; Obesity; Protein intake; Satiety response.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Overweight / physiopathology*
  • Sensation / drug effects


  • Dietary Proteins