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Protein and Weight Management
Protein and Weight Management
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), overweight and obesity are defined as excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese, due to improper weight management.
Obesity, with its comorbidities such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, is a major public health concern arising from bad weight management. Once it was considered a problem only for high-income countries, but now overweight and obesity are on the rise at an alarming rate even in low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban areas. To address this weight management problem, it is imperative to identify treatment interventions that target a variety of short- and long-term mechanisms.
Reasons for overweight and obesity
There may be many reasons for obesity such as genetics, hormonal and other medical issues, but the most common and widely accepted reasons are improper weight management.
- Intake of an excessive number of calories
- Curtailed physical activity
General pointers for weight management
Although any dietary or lifestyle change must be individualized, some pointers can be adopted by everyone who is looking to reduce weight. Keep an eye on how many calories are being consumed and increase the amount of protein moderately in the diet. This may be one of the effective and practical weight management strategies that is not drastic and can be easily adopted.
Role of protein in weight loss and weight regulation
There is evidence which states that increasing the proportion of protein moderately in the diet, lowering total energy intake, may improve body composition, assist in fat loss and aid in weight management.
Protein can play an important role in body weight management. The mechanisms by which increased dietary protein content can regulate body weight are multifactorial. If physical activity is increased to burn calories, controlled energy intake is implemented and with a moderate increase of protein in the diet, there may be weight loss and improved body weight management.
The three reasons why the increase in protein content in the diet helps with weight loss and regulation are probably because of:
- Favouring retention of lean muscle (stimulates anabolism of muscle) at the expense of fat mass at a comparatively same level of physical activity, which is again an example of improper weight management.
- Because of increased thermogenesis arising from these improper weight management practices, Protein stimulates dietary-induced thermogenesis to a greater extent than carbohydrates and fats. Increased thermogenesis influences satiety and enhances energy expenditure.
- Increasing satiety. Protein content in the diet if increased contributes to satiety and decreases the consumption of excessive calories. Generally, while planning weight-loss diets protein is increased and carbohydrates and fats are reduced.
Dietary protein is useful for body-weight management as it promotes satiety that is feeling of fullness. It also increases energy expenditure and influences energy balance and changes body composition in favour of lean muscle. Diets with higher amount of protein may help to reduce overweight and obesity and are valuable in body weight management. A high protein diet in comparison with low protein diet was associated with better weight maintenance especially with individuals who had higher BMI and waist circumference.
Way to go forward
Unless there is any protein restriction because of any health problems we can easily increase protein moderately in our diet and increase energy expenditure by taking up a sport or following an exercise routine every day for at least 30 minutes. And, of course, do not take in excessive calories.
Here’s to healthy weight management!