A DIET rich in protein is the best way to lose weight, leading nutritional scientists will say today.
Millions could keep in trim simply by ensuring they eat plenty of meat, fish, eggs and dairy every day.
High-protein diets curb the urge to gorge on fatty foods. But counting calories can be a waste of time, they say.
Dieters would see far greater results by forgetting about calories and ensuring they eat more lean meat and reduced-fat dairy.
Given the complex way our appetites work, eating too little protein increases the risk people will gorge on carbohydrates or fatty foods.
Researchers say it is no coincidence that obesity rates have soared over the past 60 years with Britain now in the grip of an epidemic at a time when we eat less protein.
A simple rule for healthy eating is to avoid processed foods – the closer to real foods, the better
Professor David Raubenheimer, University of Sydney
Nutritional ecologist Professor David Raubenheimer, from the University of Sydney, said: “We can use this information to help manage and prevent obesity.”
He said the findings, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting in Manchester today, may explain why high-protein regimes such as the Atkins diet, have been shown to help weight loss.
But he warned: “We also need to get the balance of fats and carbs right.” For, while high-protein diets appear to help weight loss, if they are also high in saturated fat they can increase cholesterol levels.
This, in turn, can lead to other health problems such as heart disease.
He said the best approach is for people to ditch processed junk food to lead a healthier life.
Professor Raubenheimer said: “A simple rule for healthy eating is to avoid processed foods – the closer to real foods, the better.
“No human population has until recently encountered ‘ultra-processed foods’, made from industrially extracted sugars, starches and salt.
“Our bodies and appetites are not adapted to biscuits, cakes, pizzas and sugary drinks, and we eat too much of them at our peril.”
Eleana Papadopoulou, nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation, said: “Protein-rich foods tend to make people feel fuller than foods rich in carbohydrates or fat.”
But she warned against some popular high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets that “claim to help people lose weight” while increasing intake of fats.
Protein is essential for growth and repair of the body, maintaining good health and providing energy.
Apart from meat and dairy products, it is found in pulses such as chickpeas and lentils.
FOOD WITH GOOD PROTEIN SOURCES
• Fish and seafood
• White-meat poultry. Dark meat is higher in fat and the skin is loaded with saturated fat, so remove skin before cooking
• Reduced fat milk, cheese and yoghurt
• Beans– half a cup of beans contains as
• Pork tenderloin
• Lean beef much protein as 90g of grilled st