Dieters often turn to high-protein foods to fill up faster, but a new study out of the Washington University School of Medicine has shown that in some cases, consuming too much protein during weight loss could have a negative effect on one crucial bodily function.
The findings, which were published in the journal Cell Reports, showed that older women in particular were at risk for seeing a negative effect of excess protein on their body following a drop in weight. In a study of 34 postmenopausal women, aged 50-65—all of whom were obese but not diabetic—researchers found that over-consumption of protein lead to the elimination of a typical benefit of weight loss: a function that lowers the risk of diabetes.
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According to Bettina Mittendorfer, PhD, a professor of medicine at the university, the team of researchers found that "women who lost weight eating a high-protein diet didn't experience any improvements in insulin sensitivity." That sensitivity is a common indicator of metabolic health overall, and is typically raised with weight loss. However, the test group that consumed lower levels of protein showed a 25-30 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity over those who consumed more.