diets higher in protein have been shown to improve body composition by promoting maintenance of lean body mass and loss in fat mass. However, the effects of increasing
intake during weight maintenance on body composition are less clear, especially when exercise levels and fitness are not intentionally increased. Researchers from the Netherlands tested the effects of increasing protein intake on body composition. They hypothesized that increasing protein intake would result in higher levels of fat oxidation which would promote decreased fat mass. Normal weight men and women were randomized to a control group (59 grams protein/day) or a milk protein supplement group (80 grams protein/day) for 3 months. Diets were isocaloric so that weight did not change. Body composition was unchanged in the control group. The protein group lost 2.6 pounds fat and gained 3.3 pounds lean body mass. They're maximal rate of fat oxidation during a standardized exercise test also increased significantly. This increase in maximal fat burning was highly correlated with the increase in protein. The results emphasize the connection between increasing protein intake and fat burning, and provide an important mechanism by which higher
promote favorable effects on body composition.
. Soenen S, Plasqui G, Smeets AJ, Westerterp-Plantenga MS. Protein intake induced an increase in exercise stimulated fat oxidation during stable body weight. Physiol Behav. 2010 Dec 2;101(5):770-4. Epub 2010 Sep 6.