According to a study, reducing protein consumption can help regulate metabolic syndrome and some of its key symptoms, such as obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure (hypertension).
An article reporting the study is published in the journal Nutrients.
Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions that heighten the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and diabetes, including hypertension, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels.
“The study showed that cutting protein intake to 0.8 g per kg of body weight was sufficient to achieve almost the same clinical results as restricting calories, but without the need to reduce calorie intake. The results suggest that protein restriction may be one of the key factors leading to the known benefits of dietary restriction.
Protein restriction dieting may therefore be a more attractive nutritional strategy and easier to follow for people with metabolic syndrome,” said Rafael Ferraz-Bannitz, first author of the article and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Harvard Medical School in the United States.
The study was funded by FAPESP via a PhD scholarship awarded to Ferraz-Bannitz while he was attending the University of Sao Paulo’s Ribeirao Preto Medical School (FMRP-USP) in Brazil.
The study also benefited from a FAPESP Thematic Project on strategies for mimicking the effects of dietary restriction, led by Marcelo Mori, a professor at the State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), also in Brazil.
A multidisciplinary team of scientists conducted the study, including researchers affiliated with the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, and the University of Sao Paulo and the National Cancer Institute (INCA) in Brazil, as well as the Obesity and Comorbidities Research Center (OCRC), a Research, Innovation and Dissemination Center (RIDC) funded by FAPESP and hosted by UNICAM
In the study, 21 volunteers with metabolic syndrome were analyzed for a period of 27 days during which their diet was monitored. Throughout the period, they were inpatients at FMRP-USP’s teaching hospital (Hospital das Clinicas in Ribeirao Preto).
Each volunteer’s daily calorie intake was calculated as a function of baseline metabolism (energy expenditure at rest). One group was fed what the authors call a standard Western diet (50% carbohydrate, 20% protein and 30% fat) but with 25% fewer calories.
For the second group, protein intake was reduced to 10%. Calorie intake was tailored to each volunteer’s baseline energy expenditure. Both groups consumed 4 g of salt per day.
The results showed that both the calorie and protein restriction groups lost weight owing to a decrease in body fat and that the symptoms of metabolic syndrome improved. Decreased body fat is known to be associated with reduced blood sugar and more normal levels of lipids and blood pressure. Source: HT