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Higher Leucine Prevents Obesity

Researchers at the University of Illinois have conducted studies that examined weight loss diets that contained 10 g/day of leucine and 125 g total protein per day with a minimum of 2.5 g Leucine at each meal. In two separate studies, this group demonstrated that the high leucine diets resulted in greater weight loss, greater fat loss, and better preservation of lean body mass. In these studies, the high leucine diets also resulted in better glucose control. A recent animal study provided some important details on the cellular mechanisms by which leucine regulated body fat. In this study animals that doubled their leucine intake were resistant to diet-induced obesity and improved a host of metabolic disturbances. The higher leucine intake caused an increase in energy expenditure and an increased expression of uncoupling protein 3, which causes energy to be given off as heat rather than stored as fat. These studies all support the use of high protein diets to maximize fat loss and spare muscle loss during weight loss.

Zhang Y, Guo K, LeBlanc RE, Loh D, Schwartz GJ, Yu YH. Increasing dietary leucine intake reduces diet-induced obesity and improves glucose and cholesterol metabolism in mice via multimechanisms. Diabetes. 2007 Jun;56(6):1647-54. Epub 2007 Mar 14.