For optimal weight control, be sure to have your protein and eat it too. Past studies have indicated that the amount of protein in the diet plays an influential role in how many total calories are consumed over the day. Thanks to a new study – we now have some scientific verification that getting enough protein is paramount for appetite and weight control. In this clinical trial, study subjects who were fed a 10% protein diet ate 12% more calories over the 4-day study period (mostly from increased snacking) vs. when they were fed a 15% protein diet. There was no difference, however, in calorie intake on a 15% protein diet vs. a 25% protein diet. The researchers concluded that humans have a particularly strong appetite for protein and when protein needs are not met – hunger and excess eating can pursue. (PLoS ONE online, October 12, 2011)
For someone on a 2000 calorie a day diet – 15% protein translates to -75 grams of protein a day or about 25 grams per meal. The healthiest protein foods are seafood (especially oily fish), omega 3 eggs, lean poultry, nuts, seeds, beans, whole soy foods, and low fat / skim dairy products.