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

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee 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.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid