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High protein diet good for your weight, but not all proteins are the same

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Thomas Meinert Larsen, Ph.D. and colleagues of University of Copenhagen on Nov 24 2010 reported a study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggesting that a high protein, low glycemic index diet is the best for a person to use to prevent his lost body weight from coming back.

The researchers essentially tested four diets each with one of the four combinations of two variables and two levels, that is, high protein, low protein and high glycemic and low glycemic in hundreds of overweight adults who had already lost 11 kg of body weight in one month by following a calorie-restricted diet (800 kcal per day).

While a press release from the University said high protein, low glycemic diet is the best, which is probably true, another diet with low protein, low glycemic diet may be equally effective in preventing weight regain.  And the study results showed both diets were equally accepted by the subjects.

A diet with high protein may contain many protein-rich foods such as lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, legumes, nuts and almonds.

But food consumers need to be aware that eating too much of red meat may boost their risk for coronary heart disease, according to a new study published in the Aug 31, 2010 issue of Circulation.

The study led by Bernstein A.M. and colleagues from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston Massachusetts showed that higher intakes of red meat, red meat excluding processed meat and high fat dairy were significantly correlated with increased risk of coronary heart disease.

On the other hand, the researchers found higher intakes of poultry, fish and nuts were  significantly associated with reduced risk of this disease in women during a 26-year follow-up.

Specifically, one serving per day of nuts, low fat dairy products, fish or poultry was linked with a 30 percent, 13 percent, 24 percent, and 19 percent reduced risk of heart disease respectively, compared with one serving per day of red meat.

The associations were based on data from 84,136 women aged 30 to 55 years in the Nurses Health Study who had no diagnosed cancer, diabetes mellitus, angina, myocardial infarction, stroke or other cardiovascular disease at baseline.

This study suggests that not all proteins are the same when it comes to their effects on cardiovascular health and other health conditions.

If you need to eat a high protein, low glycemic diet to maintain a healthy weight, this study suggests that you may be better off eating more nuts, fish, poultry or low fat dairy than red meat which can be beef, lamb/mutton and pork.

David Liu

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