Women who follow a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet may lose more weight and body fat, particularly when they engage in regular exercise, than those whose diets are low in protein and high in carbohydrates, a team of Illinois researchers reports.
To investigate, the women were randomly assigned to one of four groups: a high-protein diet group, a high-protein diet group that exercised, a high-carbohydrate group and a high-carbohydrate group that exercised.
At the end of the 16-week study period, women in all four groups lost a significant amount of weight, lost body fat and reduced their calorie intake, Layman and his team report in the Journal of Nutrition.
However, those who consumed the high-protein diet lost more body weight and total fat and less lean muscle mass than did those on the high-carbohydrate diet, the report indicates. Further, the addition of exercise, particularly to the high-protein diet, allowed women to lose even more body fat and preserve lean mass.
Women with high levels of triglycerides and low levels of HDL cholesterol, such as those with the pre-diabetes metabolic syndrome, may gain the most benefit from a high-protein diet, for example, while those with high cholesterol may gain more benefit from the high-carbohydrate diet, the report indicates.