Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Eating Protein Boosts Hormone That Fights Hunger

Eating Protein Boosts Hormone That Fights Hunger
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- New research shows if you eat a diet that's rich in protein, it can increase the amount of a hormone that fights hunger.

The study from University College London revealed increasing protein stimulates production of the hormone peptide YY (PYY) more than a high-fat or high-carbohydrate diet. PYY is shown to help reduce hunger and help with weight loss. Previous research found an injection of the hormone reduces food intake by one-third in both normal-weight and obese people.

The effects of PYY in mice confirm the new study's results in humans. Researchers say diets high in protein reduced the number of calories mice ate and increased their PYY levels. They also gained less weight and produced more PYY than mice that ate the usual amount of protein.

Results also show genetically modified mice that were not able to produce PYY ate more and became significantly obese. They were also resistant to the benefits of a high-protein diet, which shows there is a direct connection between protein and PYY. When researchers gave the hormone-deficient mice PYY, the mice lost weight.

"The findings show that PYY deficiency can cause obesity and that PYY appears to mediate the beneficial effects of increased-protein content diets," says lead author Rachel Batterham, Ph.D., a clinical scientist at University College London. "One potential weight loss strategy is therefore to increase the satiating power of the diet and promote weight loss through the addition of dietary protein -- harnessing our own satiety system."

Dr. Batterham warns large, long-term studies are needed before any specific diet is recommended. She adds that diet would not be like the Atkins diet, which is typically high in both saturated fat and protein.

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SOURCE: Cell Metabolism, 2006;4:223-233

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