New research from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and published in Obesity Reviews suggests humans’ instinctive appetite for protein is so powerful that we are driven to continue eating until we get the right amount of protein, even if it means consuming far more energy than we need…
Published online in Obesity Reviews, the research shows the overriding drive for dietary protein could be a key factor in the global obesity epidemic, with individuals’ total energy intake increasing as the percentage of protein in their diets decreases.
Regardless of weight, age or the time frame of a diet, the research found for the first time that reducing the percentage of dietary protein will result in increased total energy intake, contributing to overweight and obesity.
The research collated the results of 38 published experimental trials measuring the unrestricted energy intake of people on different diets, also taking into account a broad spectrum of age ranges, Body Mass Indexes (BMIs) and diet durations.
“We found that regardless of your age or BMI, your appetite for protein is so strong that you will keep eating until you get enough protein, which could mean you’re eating much more than you should,” says Dr Alison Gosby, lead author of the research and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre.
As diets shift towards an increased proportion of foods that are higher in carbohydrate or fat, available protein is reduced and energy intake necessarily increases.
“For example, when you consume things like soft drinks, which are fairly low in proportion of protein but high in calories, your energy intake will increase because you’ll need to keep eating to get the protein you need. If you add a soft drink to your lunch then you’ve added a lot of calories, but you’ll still have to eat the same amount of food.”
“The strength of our nutritional drive for protein is frightening within our nutritional environment, where there are a large number of low-protein foods consumed on a regular basis,” Dr Gosby says…
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Steph has lost 70lbs in under a year since going wheat free and dropped from a size 22 to a size 12. She’s also seen her health improve considerably. Wheat Belly author Dr Willian Davis published a q&a with Steph on the Wheat Belly Blog. This is an extract…
WB: Did you experience a withdrawal process? If so, what did you experience?
Steph: I had a low grade headache for a few days, which is unusual for me.
WB: Have you experienced any improvements in health?
Steph: Have I!?
I lost 70 lbs in less than a year, my blood pressure normalized, my chronic toe-joint pain (hallux limitus) is gone, my sciatic twinges went away. I dropped from a size 22 to a size 12. I wear clothes that don’t even have an X in the size anymore! This is epic!
I don’t feel bloated after eating, and my chronic loose bowels normalized. All of my blood lipid numbers normalized and are now in the “ideal” or “normal” range. The first thing that struck me about the change in eating was the way I started to NOT CARE about eating the carbs. I didn’t think about eating all the time, I didn’t clap my hands in anticipation of going out to lunch. I refused the bread basket when I went out to eat a salad, and I DIDN’T CARE! The change in my mindset about food and eating was the most surprising thing and one of the first things I noticed. This is the one thing I feared about making such a big change in eating the exact things that I loved so much–I feared that I would spend the rest of my life struggling to resist the carbs. So when I realized this was not going to be the case, I was extremely happy!
WB: Can you describe some of your favorite wheat-free foods that help you navigate this lifestyle?
Steph: I enjoy a lot of cheese, meat, including fish dredged in almond flour and different herbs, tomatoes with balsamic vinegar, vegetables, salads, avocados, anything involving coconut, lots of yogurt with nuts (and some reduced-sugar jam mixed in), I LOVE the Wheat Free Market foods muffin mixes, and I eat a lot of pasta sauce or pesto with meat but I just put it over zucchini instead of pasta. (At first I was trying to “noodle” it with a spiral vegetable slicer, but now don’t even bother. Who cares what shape it is? Sliced rounds of zucchini work in place of pasta just as well as “zoodles.”)
My girlfriend is also wheat-free and we discovered how much we love making “chips” out of grated pepper-jack cheese. We eat these like crazy and use them to dip or to eat with goat cheese. Another favorite recipe is making meat lasagna with lengthwise strips of zucchini and eggplant in place of lasagna noodles. Our favorite breakfast is Greek yogurt with nuts and chia seeds, sometimes hemp seeds, and some jam. We also have fun ordering all the “froofie” coffee drinks at our favorite coffee place, and ask for them with “all the fat but sugar-free!”
I have been wheat-free for 14 months (with occasional bite-size backtracking). I was not gluten-sensitive in the sense that it would cause me pain or a lot of discomfort. So there have been times since I have quit wheat that I did eat some forbidden foods, telling myself “Oh, just a little bit just this once,” like a little bit of naan at the Indian restaurant, or cake at someone’s birthday party. There have also been periods where I slacked off on my carb-carefulness (like eating too many rice and beans, or eating corn, or getting too much frozen yogurt). While I do notice a more bloated feeling when I bring grains back into my diet, the biggest problem for me is that the old eating mindset comes back. It makes it much harder for me to wait until I’m truly feeling HUNGRY to eat.
I also am at the point where I realize I am NOT going to lose the last 20 lbs or so of weight I want to lose without regular exercise, which is what I’m starting on this week: a running class with my girlfriend! We feel really good about how we are improving our health, and quitting wheat was the catalyst to all of it. I shudder to think how much wheat I was eating before. Now I shudder to think about going back to my old ways. Wheat is just not worth it!
More at: Steph: “Wheat is not worth it”