Limiting protein intake can help manage metabolic syndrome, including some of its symptoms like diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure (hypertension), claims a study conducted by researchers in Brazil and Denmark. In the study, the effects of protein and calorie restriction diets in humans were compared.
Rafael Ferraz-Bannitz, the first author of the article and a postdoctoral researcher at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, United States, said the study indicated that limiting protein intake to 0.8 g per kg of body weight was ample in achieving nearly the same clinical results as cutting calories, but without actually reducing calorie intake.
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The condition of Metabolic syndrome leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, high blood sugar, and excess fat around the waist. It also heightens the risk of abnormal cholesterol levels.
In the study, 21 participants with metabolic syndrome were studied and they were given a control diet for 27 days. Throughout the study, these participants were kept in the hospital and their health activities were monitored.
To conduct the study, the participants were divided into groups of two. The first group was allotted what the authors call a standard Western diet, which consisted of 50 per cent carbohydrates, 20 per cent protein, and 30 per cent fat. Their calorie intake was reduced by 25 per cent.
The other group was fed only 10 per cent protein. Although they were given enough calories, both groups were also given 4 grams of salt every day.
The results showed that both groups were able to lose weight due to a decrease in body fat and improved symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This also positively regulated blood sugar, lipids, and blood pressure levels.
Maria Christina, another author of the study, said that after 27 days, people in both groups had reduced fat around the waist, but there was no difference in body mass. This means that metabolic syndrome can be easily reduced by controlling the diet.
An article reporting the study has been published in the journal called Nutrients.