While most newspapers focus on low-carb vs. low-fat diet articles, they tend to miss the point about high-protein diets. It's well known in the fitness industry that higher protein intakes help with fat loss, with one of the reasons being protein helps control appetite.
In fact, most bodybuilding nutritionists simply recommend 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight as being effective for building muscle and burning fat in normal weight men and women. But for overweight individuals, they should use the amount in the following study that helped men and women lose more weight.
Recently, a study from the Nutrition Journal tested the effects of two different protein intakes on weight loss in 100 obese men and women. Some subjects received 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day, while the other group received 0.5g of protein per pound of lean body mass per day.
Nutr J. 2008 Aug 27;7(1):23. A controlled trial of protein enrichment of meal replacements for weight reduction with retention of lean body mass. Treyzon L, Chen S, Hong K, Yan E, Carpenter CL, Thames G, Bowerman S, Wang HJ, Elashoff R, Li Z.
At the end of 12 weeks, both groups lost approximately 8-9 pounds of weight, but the high protein group lost more fat (3.6 pounds vs. 1.32 pounds).
If you want to lose fat, a little extra protein will go a long way. However, it's really easy to get 1g of protein per pound of lean body mass without using a lot of protein supplements. Each protein supplement generally provides 20g of protein.
A cup of milk or yogurt provides 10g of protein. A chicken breast provides 20-40g, depending on the serving size. You even get protein from nuts (a few grams per ounce). So use Fitday.com to input your food intake, and you'll find out how much protein you are getting each day and from specific foods. Then you can determine whether or not you need protein supplements.
Eat food first,
Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS