Eating a diet that's high in protein is often recommended for people trying to lose weight, since high-protein foods make people feel more full, preventing overeating.
However, a new study suggests that while the diet may help people slim down, it doesn't necessarily improve other health problems under the hood.
Now if you are obsessively tiring your taste buds by feeding it excess protein, here is a spoiler. Protein may not be all that effective in treating your lifestyle diseases. We require improved insulin sensitivity to cut down our risk for Type 2 diabetes, which is most common among obese people. That's the reason health experts recommend weight loss for better health.
When you lose weight on a high-protein diet, there's no improvement in what doctors call "insulin sensitivity" - a factor that could lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease. In type 2 diabetes, cells gradually lose insulin sensitivity - their ability to respond to the metabolic hormone. This often occurs with rising obesity, so improved insulin sensitivity can be one of the byproducts of weight loss.
"We definitely expected a blunting of the effect, but to completely eliminate it was a little bit surprising," says lead study author Bettina Mittendorfer, a professor of medicine. The number of people in the study, which was published in the journal Cell Reports, is very small, but Mittendorfer says the report is not the first to raise skepticism about high-protein diets. "There is a reported association from epidemiological studies between protein intake and an increased risk for type 2 diabetes," she says.
Mittendorfer and her fellow researchers plan to continue studying the issue to better understand why people who eat more protein did not experience the same metabolic benefits, and whether the type of protein a person consumes matters.