New research out of Australia suggests there's a magic number when it comes to eating a balanced diet of protein versus carbohydrates and avoiding weight gain: 15.
The latest study, published online at PLoS One (Public Library of Science) October 12, supports the widespread theory that upping protein intake can help fend off the extra pounds. But the research also suggests that a diet made up of 15 percent protein does the job of quelling hunger pangs and keeping saturated fats to a minimum.
In their study, scientists from the University of Sydney put 22 participants on three diets, modifying only the protein intake from 10, 12 and 15 percent. Each diet was consumed over four days.
What researchers found was that when subjects were put on the lowest protein diet, they also ate 12 percent more calories compared to the 15 percent protein regimen.
Furthermore, 70 percent of those extra calories came from mindless snacking, particularly of savory foods.
When scientists upped the protein intake to 25 percent, they observed no change in behavior relative to the 15 percent protein group.
"The results show that humans have a particularly strong appetite for protein, and when the proportion of protein in the diet is low this appetite can drive excess energy intake," said lead researcher Alison Gosby in a statement. "Our findings have considerable implications for body weight management..."
To help prevent dieters from abandoning carb-restrictive regimes, researchers out of Venezuela suggest eating a big carbohydrate and protein packed breakfast that will satiate appetites and adopting a low-carb, low-calorie diet for the rest of the day.