Consuming a protein-heavy meal can help promote fullness much sooner, compared to eating meals light on protein or without any protein at all. High-protein diets are often favored in those individuals aiming to drop a few pounds, as it is believed they will feel fuller with minimal calories. Yet, there has been a lack of research to support such claims.
The researchers look at numerous studies on the topics in order to achieve their findings.
Research lead Richard Mattes said, “A good deal of evidence suggests that protein activates satiety [fullness] hormone release and so should be most strongly tied with fullness ratings. [However] individual studies are often conducted in small populations or with different approaches that can make interpretation of results challenging. Our study combined multiple experiments to confirm the presence of an effect.”
Although protein can aid in fullness, this doesn’t necessarily translate that it aids in weight loss. Mattes added, “Feelings like hunger and fullness are not the only factors that influence [calorie] intake. We often eat for other reasons. Anyone who has ever felt too full to finish their meal but has room for dessert knows this all too well.”
Researchers are still unaware on the quantity of protein needed to feel full. Mattes said, “If these effects are sustained over the long-term — and our study only looked at short-term effects — increased protein intake may aid in the loss or maintenance of body weight.”
The long-term effects of protein as a weight loss aid are still uncertain, thus requiring additional research until a conclusion can be made.
Dana Angelo White, a nutritionist and clinical assistant professor of athletic training at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, concluded, “The exact amount will vary, but ideally consume a variety of types of protein, both plant and animal-based, distributed throughout the day. This will not only combat hunger, it will provide the body with the amino acids it needs for things like muscle health, immunity, and hormone production.”