Research has already proven that protein helps to keep away hunger and maintain muscle tissue, and this is helpful to people who have just lost weight and are trying to keep it off. But it does come at a cost – high amounts of protein prevented a reduction in insulin resistance.
We are supposed to eat 0.8 grams of protein per each kilo of body weight, and the women who adhered to this restriction experienced the insulin sensitivity benefits of weight loss. But those who ate 1.2 grams of protein per each kilo of body weight, which is 50% more protein above the recommended amount, ended up having insulin resistance issues even after shedding the excess weight.
In a study which was featured in Cell Reports, it was discovered that the insulin sensitivity benefits that should come with weight loss were absent among people who consumed a high protein diet. The study was done on 34 obese postmenopausal women. The researchers found that the women, even after losing weight with the help of a high protein diet, did not reap the insulin sensitivity benefits that should come with a significant weight reduction.
In contrast, women who lost weight without a reliance on a high protein diet experienced a notable improvement in insulin sensitivity. A reduction in insulin is critical in many weight loss scenarios because many obese and overweight people deal with diabetes or even blood sugar level problems.
Improved metabolism is one of the major benefits of having healthy weight. And one of the best indicators of good metabolic health is good insulin sensitivity. What this implies that even though a high protein diet can have weight loss benefits, it still fails to achieve one of the greatest goals of losing excess weight – better metabolic health.
It is widely believed that postmenopausal women need higher protein content to avoid massive loss of lean tissue. For this reason, it would make sense for overweight women in this age group to lose weight using a high protein diet. After all, you cannot lose fat without losing some lean muscle tissue in the process. But this study suggest that a high protein diet might not be such a good idea after all.
The benefits that come with weight loss are almost all related to having an improved metabolism, and if this benefit is still unrealized after you have lost weight, then your risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other problems might still be a concern for you.
But further research will be necessary to help the medical community understand why high protein content in an effective weight loss diet would hinder an improvement in insulin sensitivity. The study will also need to be extended to see if the same effect is present among men.