In brief, the protein leverage hypothesis (PLH) states that an animal will keep eating until a certain amount of protein has been ingested. If it's a low protein diet, it will require more food and be more obesogenic; it it's a high protein diet, it will require less food and may lead to weight loss.
Tl;dr: if you're overeating, and most people usually are, best make it high protein.
When I first read about PLH, I was excited. "Makes so much sense!"
^^^They had to over-science it. Lol.
Admittedly, I'm still interested in the physiological/nutrient partitioning effects of high protein in the context of overeating... because statistically everyone is overeating all the time.
In the infamous Bray overfeeding study, participants were overfed high protein, medium protein, and low protein (in exchange with fat, so carbs were the same across groups).
After 8 weeks of this, the increased calorie burden caused a roughly equal amount of fat deposition in each group. So theoretically, the excess insulin load which may have occurred with high protein vs. low protein (with similar carbs) didn't cause extra fat accumulation.
Protein-induced insulin secretion just seems different? How does the body know?
In this study, the high protein group packed on muscle mass. They gained the most weight but the same amount of fat due to the added muscle.
Dietary protein -> insulin -> muscle hypertrophy.
The CIM is getting more and more complicated. I can see why it's so Triggering on social media. Some aspects of it seem very clear cut. But people gaining weight have loads of fuel in their blood, so insulin can't be clearing out fuels, making them unavailable for the body to use leading to the accumulation of body fat and hunger. Otherwise we'd see flatlined free fatty acids in obesity and we don't.
Thus, if you're overeating, and most people usually are, best make it high protein. You get just as fat but at least you get some muscle to boot. And hey, if protein leverage works, maybe you'll be overeating less :)
I also believe it's physically difficult to go too high on the protein. We tried to do a 50% protein study years ago, even provided protein powders, and no one could do it in weight maintenance (they either lost weight or couldn't maintain 50% protein [supports PLH]). Everyone in the department remembers the flatulence. Lol.
What do you think? Leave a comment!
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