Are Dietary Proteins the Key to Successful Body Weight Management? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Studies Assessing Body Weight Outcomes after Interventions with Increased Dietary Protein

Nutrients. 2021 Sep 14;13(9):3193. doi: 10.3390/nu13093193.


The primary aim was to systematically review the current evidence investigating if dietary interventions rich in protein lead to improved body weight management in adults with excessive body weight. The secondary aim was to investigate potential modifying effects of phenotyping. A systematic literature search in PubMed, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library identified 375 randomized controlled trials with 43 unique trials meeting the inclusion criteria. The Cochrane collaboration tool was used for a thorough risk of bias assessment. Based on 37 studies evaluating effects of dietary protein on body weight, the participants with increased protein intake (ranging from 18-59 energy percentage [E%]) were found to reduce body weight by 1.6 (1.2; 2.0) kg (mean [95% confidence interval]) compared to controls (isocaloric interventions with energy reduction introduced in certain studies). Individuals with prediabetes were found to benefit more from a diet high in protein compared to individuals with normoglycemia, as did individuals without the obesity risk allele (AA genotype) compared to individuals with the obesity risk alleles (AG and GG genotypes). Thus, diets rich in protein would seem to have a moderate beneficial effect on body weight management.

Keywords: appetite; obesity; overweight; satiety; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Diet, High-Protein / methods
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Proteins