Research: Effect of high-protein meal replacement on weight and cardiac risks


High-protein may assist with weight control and lower cardiac risk.


Steak – High Protein

Higher protein diets are still a common approach to weight loss.  Most dieters have tried them.  The problem with suggesting them is that there is limited research to support their use and some research shows that the addition of many sources of protein may actually increase your risk of heart disease.   Any future research that might show higher protein diets lower cardiometabolic risk factors would potentially indicate that higher protein diets that result in weight loss might have a place in treating diabetes and heart disease.      

A new study took this task and was published in the British Journal of Nutrition[1].  The aim of the study was to evaluate the impact of a high-protein meal replacement on weight and metabolic, lipid and inflammatory parameters in overweight and obese Asian Indians.  Central obesity, elevated blood sugar, blood lipid levels, and inflammatory markers have been tied to increase risks of cardiac disease and its equivalents such as diabetes type 2.  In this 12-week randomized controlled trial, 122 overweight or obese men and women were administered either a high-protein meal replacement or a control diet after 2 weeks of diet and exercise.  Body weight, waist circumference, percentage body fat, fasting blood glucose, blood glucose, serum insulin, lipid profile, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein were assessed before and after the intervention.  The results showed improvement in mean values for the following parameters in the high-protein meal replacement group compared with the control group was observed: body weight, waist circumference, percent body fat, blood pressure, blood glucose, C-reactive protein, and LDL-cholesterol.  

The bottom line: High-protein meal replacement seems to show promise at lowering weight and lowering cardiac risk factors.  There is no reason to believe this would not occur in other ethnic groups.  Although higher protein might help with weight loss, that does not mean that a steak every night is healthy.  I suggested you discuss any dietary changes with a medical provider.  More research is needed.  


S. Gulati, A. Misra, R. Tiwari, M. Sharma, R. M. Pandey, and C. P. Yadav, “Effect of high-protein meal replacement on weight and cardiometabolic profile in overweight/obese Asian Indians in North India,” Br J Nutr, vol. 117, no. 11, pp. 1531–1540, Jun. 2017 [Online]. Available: 10.1017/S0007114517001295″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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