A randomized trial of a hypocaloric high-protein diet, with and without exercise, on weight loss, fitness, and markers of the Metabolic Syndrome in overweight and obese women.
Meckling KA, Sherfey R.
Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of 3:1 and 1:1 carbohydrate to protein ratios, hypocaloric diets with and without exercise, and risk factors associated with the Metabolic Syndrome in overweight and obese Canadian women. Groups were designated as control diet (CON), control diet with exercise (CONEx), high-protein (HP), or high-protein with exercise (HPEx). Free-living women from the Guelph community were studied in a university health and fitness facility. The participants were 44 of 60 overweight and obese women who had been randomized to the 4 weight-loss programs. Habitual diets of the subjects were energy restricted and were to contain either a 1:1 or 3:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein energy. Subjects either exercised 3 times/week or maintained their normal level of activity for 12 weeks. The main outcome measures were weight loss, blood lipids, blood pressure, insulin, body composition, nitrogen balance, fitness, and resting energy expenditure. All groups lost weight over the 12 week period: -2.1 kg for the CON group, -4.0 kg in the CONEx group, -4.6 kg in the HP group, and -7.0 kg in the HPEx. All participants exhibited improved body composition, decreased blood pressure, and decreased waist and hip circumference. Actual diets consumed by the subjects contained ratios of carbohydrate to protein of 3.0:1, 2.7:1, 1.5:1, and 0.96:1 for the CON, CONEx, HP, and HPEx groups, respectively. Cardiovascular fitness improved in both exercise groups. There were no changes in resting energy expenditure. No adverse events were reported. Significant changes in blood lipids included decreased total cholesterol in the HP and CONEx groups, decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol in the HP group only, and decreased blood triglycerides in the HPEx group only. High-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting blood glucose, and fasting insulin levels were unaltered by diet or exercise. A high-protein diet was superior to a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet either alone or when combined with an aerobic/resistance-training program in promoting weight loss and nitrogen balance, while similarly improving body composition and risk factors for the Metabolic Syndrome in overweight and obese Canadian women.