What is it about your diet that is making all the difference? Less calories? Less food? More fruit? More protein? A carefully observed balance? Of course, most diets push the idea that the dieter must maintain a certain level of protein. In fact, some diets -- like the Atkins and the South Beach diets -- are centered around high-protein regimens. And a recent survey indicates that there is a perception among dieters that not only is protein important in maintaining a healthy diet but that it is also important in contributing to weight loss as well.
Science Daily reported April 26 that researchers from the University of Minnesota surveyed over 1,800 women and found that a great number of women -- all in the midlife ages (40-60) -- stressed "eating more protein" as a path to added and sustaining weight loss. In fact, 43 percent of respondents admitted that they thought eating protein important in losing weight and that it was related to successful self-reported weight loss periods over a two-year span.
According to the study, which was published in the May/June 2013 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education, a majority of those surveyed also correctly identified good protein sources and could indicate the daily percent of dietary energy recommended from protein.
Effective use of the practice came down to two main factors: The level of protein intake and how efficient the dieter was in working toward weight management.
Noel Aldritch, who was lead author of the study, noted that successful dieters that reported eating more protein to attain weight loss followed the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's recommendations.
Aldritch said: "Education regarding dietary protein requirements may enhance the use of this practice. Women may need more information regarding protein energy content and effective selection of protein sources to enhance protein intake as a weight management strategy. Given that the majority of Americans are overweight, identifying the most effective practices and related factors surrounding successful weight loss and prevention of weight gain are important."
It is important to note that the study did not actually find that higher protein intake contributed to weight loss. The study only showed that there was a perception among a great number of women that increasing protein intake was instrumental in losing weight.
Sometimes perception is everything. Sometimes, even when it isn't, that same perception can by used to attain beneficial results.
(photo credit: National Cancer Institute, Wikimedia Commons)