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New Study Confirms Link Between Protein and Satiety


Everyone knows that protein helps keep you full, but until recently researchers hadn’t exactly confirmed that truth. But thanks to a new study that’s been published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the correlation has been made official.

According to lead investigator in the study, Richard D. Mattes, M.P.H., Ph.D., R.D.:

“A good deal of evidence suggests that protein activates satiety hormone release and so should be most strongly tied with fullness ratings, but individual studies are often conducted in small populations or with different approaches that can make interpretation of results challenging. Our study combined multiple experiments to confirm the presence of an effect.”

They went on to add that their research did not confirm what the magic number is when it comes to protein grams, and of course it’s always possible that this would vary from person to person and in different situations.

Says Heather Leidy, Ph.D.:

“The exact amount of protein needed to prolong fullness as well as when to consume protein throughout the day is not resolved, and our study did not determine this.”

What they can suggest is that eating small amounts of protein periodically throughout the day might be the best way to help keep up those feelings of fullness.

“Though this study did not specifically evaluate dieters, feeling fuller could help to reduce food intake, an important factor when dieting,” Dr. Mattes went on. “If these effects are sustained over the long-term—and our study only looked at short-term effects—increased protein intake may aid in the loss or maintenance of body weight.”

Most of us already believed this from personal experience, but it’s good to know for certain. Since protein is not only great at filling us up but also key for building muscle, it’s good to get it from a variety of sources to make sure that we’re getting everything that we need from it.

The biggest sources of protein for minimal calories include chicken breast, lean beef, eggs, tuna, and whey, but options like hemp seed, tofu, and seafood are good options as well.

Some research has shown that there is a threshold for protein meaning your body can only so much at a time. If that’s the case, that means that it’s best to break up your protein consumption and get some at each meal and snack throughout the day. For someone who’s body weight suggests they need around 140 grams of protein each day, that would mean eating around 35 grams at each major meal and then getting the rest in a snack that you have either sometime in the day or right before bed.

Getting a hit of protein before bed is one of the best ways to full through the night without overloading the body with a lot of fat or carbs that he doesn’t need while you are sleeping. It’s also key to get one of those protein filled meals following your workout to give the body the ingredients it needs to recover and keep the metabolism stoked throughout the day.

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About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.

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