Scientists at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, have found that by simply cutting calories, one person will lose body fat, regardless of the ratio of protein and carbohydrate consumed.
The study showed that people gained similar levels of fat no matter how much – or how little – protein they consumed.
Researchers studied the effects of protein in diet on a group of 25 people.
The participants were divided into three groups, the first was given a daily diet that was 6% protein, the second 15%, and the third, 26%.
Each group was given the same quantities of carbohydrate each day – 40%, which is a normal amount for an average diet.
The results showed that the group which had been eating the lowest amounts of protein lost the most weight.
But this group also lost muscle mass, not fat, which has serious health implications and can actually cause result in future weight gain because it lowers the rate of metabolism.
Dr. George Bray, who led the study, explained in the Journal of the American Medical Association: “The hypothesis was that the low-protein and high-protein diets might affect fat gain, but they didn’t.
“Fat gain isn’t modulated to any significant degree by protein intake.”
Dietitian Elizabeth Ward’s opinion echoed Dr. George Bray’s findings.
She told ABC News: “While the low-protein group didn’t gain as much weight as the other two groups, losing lean muscle tissue plus gaining any fat is a double-whammy when it comes to long-term weight maintenance.”
And indeed advice from the American Dietetic Association recommends a calorie-cutting regime for losing weight.
Spokesman Lona Sandon explained that though the amount of protein one should eat has been complicated by modern diets, if you are looking to lose weight, the advice is simple.
“What the public should take away here is that total caloric intake matters when it comes to weight gain,” Lona Sandon said.