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Copyright 2013 Natural Standard (
June 2012

Carbohydrates and Protein May Prevent Weight Regain

A diet rich in protein and carbohydrates may help prevent weight regain by reducing cravings and hunger, according to a new study.

Obesity occurs when an individual has an increased amount of body fat. It is usually defined as being 20-30 percent above the normal body weight for someone of the same age, gender, and height. Morbid obesity is usually defined as being 50-100 percent above the normal body weight for someone of the same age, gender and height.

In a new study, a total of 193 obese men and women were randomly assigned to either a low-carbohydrate breakfast or one that was high in carbohydrates and protein for 32 weeks. Researchers measured fasting glucose, lipid levels and craving scores at baseline, at week 16 and during follow-up at the end of the study.

Both groups had similar weight loss at week 16, but between week 16 and the end of the study, the participants in the high-carbohydrate and protein group lost more weight. Meanwhile, the low-carbohydrate group regained weight on average. The scientists found that a breakfast high in carbohydrates and protein appeared to reduce hunger and increase a feeling of fullness after eating, as well as significantly lower craving scores.

The researchers concluded that diets with high amounts of carbohydrates and protein may help reduce hunger and prevent weight regain in obese people. However, more evidence is needed to better understand these effects.

Many factors, including an individual's age, gender and height, are considered to determine if he/she is overweight. People increase in weight until they are fully grown. On average, females tend to gain about 16 pounds of body weight from age 25-54. In contrast, males tend to gain about 10 pounds of body weight from age 25-45. By around age 55, both men and women start to decline in weight. Females naturally have more body fat and less muscles mass than men. It is also normal for taller individuals to weigh more than shorter individuals.

Obesity is typically considered a long-term condition that often persists for many years. Researchers believe that many factors, including poor diet, overeating, pregnancy, medications, medical conditions, genetics, gender and age, may contribute to a person becoming obese.

Obesity can have serious long-term effects on health. Individuals who are overweight have an increased risk of developing many life-threatening illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer.

For more information about high protein or high carbohydrate diets, please visit Natural Standard's Health & Wellness database.


  1. Jakubowicz D, Froy O, Wainstein J, et al. Meal timing and composition influence ghrelin levels, appetite scores and weight loss maintenance in overweight and obese adults. Steroids. 2012 Mar 10;77(4):323-31. Epub 2011 Dec 9. View Abstract
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine.
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