Image for High Protein Diets May Affect Energy and Body Composition
Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
January 2012

High Protein Diets May Affect Energy and Body Composition

A recent report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that the consumption of high protein diets may increase energy expenditure and the storage of lean body mass while not affecting the storage of fat.

While many individuals diet to achieve ideal body compositions, it is unclear how the type of food eaten affects overeating and energy dissipation.

This study randomly assigned 25 young (aged 18-35 years), healthy and weight-stable individuals to consume low, normal or high protein diets for 10-12 weeks. For the last eight weeks, the participants consumed food in excess.

Body composition was measured biweekly using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Resting energy expenditure was measured weekly using a ventilated hood. Total energy expenditure was measured prior to weight stabilization, prior to overeating and between weeks seven and eight of the study using doubly labeled water.

Compared to the normal and high protein diets, the low protein diet caused less weight gain from overeating, although body fat content increased similarly for all three groups. Resting energy expenditure and body protein content increased for the normal and high protein diets.

The investigators concluded that dietary protein may not affect the storage of fat, but may increase energy expenditure and storage of lean body mass. Additional research is necessary.

For more information about the effects of high protein diets, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness database.


  1. Bray GA, Smith SR, de Jonge L, et al. Effect of dietary protein content on weight gain, energy expenditure, and body composition during overeating: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 2012 Jan 4;307(1):47-55. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
The information in this brief report is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions. Copyright 2013 Natural Standard Inc. Commercial distribution or reproduction prohibited.