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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter 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.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid