Research: Plant protein can make you feel full.

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A new study found plant protein promotes high satiety.  

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In recent years, animal advocacy groups have been pushing for less animal and more plant based consumption.  Manufacturers have made progress in the texture of plant based products that look, taste, and feel like their animal based predecessors.  You can buy fake chicken nuggets, hot dogs, sausages, hamburger patties, and just about anything you might want.  This study still leaves many questions to be answered like can they be as filling as their animal based brethren?  

One study looked at this very issue[1].  The study was published in October of 2016 in Food Nutrition Research. It took 43 healthy, normal-weight, young men completed this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-way, cross-over meal test.  The three-meals used in the study were high protein based on veal and pork meal, high protein based on legumes or low-protein based on legumes.  Subjective appetite sensations were recorded at baseline and every half hour using visual analog scales.  The results of the study were surprising.  The high protein legume based diet induced lower composite appetite score, hunger, prospective food consumption, and higher fullness compared to high protein meat and low protein legume counterparts.  Further more, the high protein legume group ate 13% and 12% lower calorie count respectively.  

Problems with the study, the N is small so a small error can make a huge difference.  More research is needed.  I would like to see a study that looks at equal levels of fiber consumption.  The high protein legume based diet has 25 grams of protein when compared to the constipating 6 grams in the meat based diet.  

The bottom line: Legume based high protein diets are an option and appear to promote satiety.  Vegetable-based meals reduce appetite sensations comparable to animal-based meals with similar energy and protein content even though the meat based product performed slightly better in palatability.   Based on my medical knowledge and research, I suspect that the meat based diet would be a clear winner if it were added to a Medetereaned diet with a high fiber content.  Either way, more research is needed.  

Footnotes
[1]Kristensen et al., “Meals Based on Vegetable Protein Sources (Beans and Peas) Are More Satiating than Meals Based on Animal Protein Sources (Veal and Pork) – a Randomized Cross-over Meal Test Study.”
Kristensen, Marlene D., Nathalie T. Bendsen, Sheena M. Christensen, Arne Astrup, and Anne Raben. “Meals Based on Vegetable Protein Sources (Beans and Peas) Are More Satiating than Meals Based on Animal Protein Sources (Veal and Pork) – a Randomized Cross-over Meal Test Study.” Food & Nutrition Research 60, no. 1 (January 2016): 32634. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v60.32634
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About the Author

ChuckH

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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