Cutting calories isn’t enough to shed pounds and keep those pounds off. Calories are not created equally, and there is a science behind which calories should be reduced or increased to effectively lose weight. Cutting calories altogether, and potentially losing muscle in the process, causes a chain reaction in your body which eventually slows down your resting metabolic rate, as explained in a recent New York Times report. This can cause your body to take a much longer time to burn calories, which can slow any effort to lose weight.
Researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada recently studied whether a high-protein diet, in combination with high-intensity exercise, would best help individuals lose weight and preserve lean body mass. The study was published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The researchers tracked 40 men, all overweight, who were split into two even groups. Both groups had their daily caloric intake cut by 40 percent and were put on a demanding six-days-a-week exercise routine. However, the two groups were put on mirror-image diets. One group was fed a diet that gave them 35 percent of their daily calories from protein and 15 percent from fat, while the other group got 15 percent of their daily calories from protein and 35 percent from fat.
On average, both groups lost around 12 pounds by the end of the study. However, the men on the protein-rich diet gained nearly three pounds of muscle, which means they lost more fat. The researchers hope to conduct multiple follow-up studies, including trials with women, to verify these results.
Adding beans, lean meats, tofu, or nuts to your meals are easy ways to increase your daily protein intake. If you’re looking for a high-protein dish, try these recipes created by the team at Type 2 Nation: Spanish Style Tuna Salad, Jerk Grilled Salmon, Black & White Chicken Chili , or Mushroom & Shallot Omelet.