News / Health

Study Finds Calories, Not Protein, Are Key to Weight Control

Carol Pearson

A new study may help end the perpetual debate over how best to maintain or slim down to a healthful weight. Researchers found that, while there are many elements to a good diet, carefully limiting calorie intake is the most important part of controlling one's weight.

Sixty percent of U.S. adults are overweight and more than thirty percent are obese.  But Americans aren’t the only ones struggling with their waistlines.  The World Health Organization reports that obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than one billion adults overweight.

Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian studies the relationship between diet and chronic diseases at the Harvard School of Public Health.  "We need a shift, a paradigm shift, in our focus on and attention to diet,"  Mozaffarian said.

But people trying to change their eating habits and reduce their weight must sort through a bewildering variety of diets. Some recommend cutting out carbohydrates. Others say cut out the fat, eat more protein, eat less protein. The messages can be confusing.

Dr. George Bray, at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in the southern state of Louisiana, wanted to find out if protein affects weight gain.  "This study was designed to examine the effects of differing levels of protein on total calorie intake," Bray said.

Twenty-five healthy adults participated in the study. Daniel Kuhn was one of them. He and the others were overfed by almost a thousand calories a day.

"I was eating a lot of real butter, real whipped cream and things of that nature that I don't normally indulge in," Kuhn said.

All of the participants followed low, normal or high protein diets. The result:  all of them gained weight.

“Fat storage was exactly the same with all three levels of protein. That is, it was the calories that they ate that affected the body fat that they stored,” Bray said.

But those who ate a higher percentage of protein gained more lean body mass while those on a low protein diet experienced just the opposite.

“If your protein intake's low, you'll actually lose body mass even though you're eating an excess amount of calories,” Bray said.

Dr. Bray tells his patients to get on the scale regularly so they can catch added weight early. Dr. Mozaffarian says keeping weight in check is not just about eating less.

"We don't need to go down a list of 'avoid this, avoid that,' and becoming the food police. It's mostly foods that should be increased. It’s fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, vegetable oils and nuts," Bray said.   

Dr. Mozaffarian says increasing these six foods by about a serving each day would reduce obesity - and help slow the epidemic of chronic diseases associated with it.

Dr. Bray's study on protein, calories and weight gain was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

You May Like

India PM Modi's Party Distances Itself From Religious Conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid