In a new study, researchers found that high-protein total diet replacements may be a promising nutritional strategy to combat rising rates of obesity.
The research was reported by a team at the University of Alberta.
According to the World Health Organization, obesity has nearly tripled worldwide since 1975.
In 2016, for example, more than 1.9 billion adults were categorized as overweight. Of these, more than 650 million had obesity.
Because obesity is associated with a higher incidence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers, the rise in its incidence has led to a global public health emergency.
Total diet replacements, nutritionally complete formula foods designed to replace the whole diet for a set period of time, have become increasingly popular strategies to combat obesity.
Another popular weight management strategy is high-protein diets, which have been shown to promote weight loss and weight maintenance by increasing our sense of fullness, energy expenditure, and ability to maintain or increase fat-free mass.
Taken together, the combination of a total diet replacement with a high-protein diet may be a promising strategy for weight management.
In fact, several high-protein total diet replacement products are widely available to consumers. The question is do they work?
In the study, the team compared the impact of a high-protein total diet replacement to that of a control diet, a typical North American diet, on selected components of energy metabolism.
They recruited a group of healthy, normal-weight adults between the ages of 18 and 35.
The team found that compared to the standard North American dietary pattern, the high-protein total diet replacement led to higher energy expenditure, increased fat oxidation, and negative fat balance.
In particular, the results of the study provide further evidence that a calorie is not just a calorie.
That is, a diet with a higher proportion of protein might lead to an increase in energy expenditure and fat oxidation compared to a diet consisting of the same number of calories, but with a lower proportion of protein as well as a higher proportion of carbohydrate or fat.
The results of this study suggest that high-protein total diet replacements may be a promising nutritional strategy to combat rising rates of obesity.
The team says future studies are needed to better understand the long-term effects of this dietary intervention on the physiology of both healthy and diseased population groups.
One author of the study is Camila Oliveira.
The study is published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
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