Research: Protein promotes satiety


All protein sources of consumption appear to enhance feelings of fullness.  



Although metabolism is important, any mechanism by which we reduce the intake of food and calories can assist with weight loss.  Dietary protein has long been suggested as a means of enhancing satiety.  Dietary protein has long been considered the most satiating macronutrient, yet there is little evidence on whether the effects observed are attributable to the protein or the concomitant manipulation of carbohydrates and fat.  If protein could promote satiety or fullness, it would enhance weight loss.  If it could reduce hunger and overeating, it could be a key part of many meals to include breakfast.  

I wrote a prior article on plant protein and satiety.  The question is if the mechanism and effect were translatable to the other sources of protein.  It has been suggested that protein increases Leptin([1]), Protein YY([2],[3]) and Ghrelin([4],[3],[5]).  No matter the mechanism, all of these studies that have shown an increase in satiety with proteins of multiple types and there is no reason to believe that this effect is not a macronutrient effect caused by all sources of proteins([6],[7]).  The findings the studies suggest that modulating the release of endogenous satiety factors, such as Protein YY, leptin, and ghrelin, through alteration of protein consumption could provide a rational therapy for obesity.  Studies are clear that an increase in dietary protein from 15% to 30% of total calories produces a sustained decrease in caloric intake that may be mediated by increased central nervous system leptin sensitivity and results in significant weight loss[1] and this anorexic effect of protein may contribute to the weight loss produced by low-carbohydrate diets.

The bottom line:  Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating.  The most satiating macronutrient appears to be dietary protein. Alteration of specific diet constituents to increase protein consumption to 30% could provide a rational therapy for obesity.  No matter whether the mechanism is ghrelin, leptin, or Protein YY, the effect is the same.  Increased protein consumption and a lower carbohydrate appear to lower resistance and increase satiety.  


D. Weigle et al., “A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations.,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 82, no. 1, pp. 41–8, Jul. 2005. [PubMed]
R. Batterham et al., “Critical role for peptide YY in protein-mediated satiation and body-weight regulation.,” Cell Metab, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 223–33, Sep. 2006. [PubMed]
J. Lomenick, M. Melguizo, S. Mitchell, M. Summar, and J. Anderson, “Effects of meals high in carbohydrate, protein, and fat on ghrelin and peptide YY secretion in prepubertal children.,” J Clin Endocrinol Metab, vol. 94, no. 11, pp. 4463–71, Nov. 2009. [PubMed]
M. Lejeune, K. Westerterp, T. Adam, N. Luscombe-Marsh, and M. Westerterp-Plantenga, “Ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 concentrations, 24-h satiety, and energy and substrate metabolism during a high-protein diet and measured in a respiration chamber.,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 83, no. 1, pp. 89–94, Jan. 2006. [PubMed]
W. Blom et al., “Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response.,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 83, no. 2, pp. 211–20, Feb. 2006. [PubMed]
A. Dougkas and E. Östman, “Protein-Enriched Liquid Preloads Varying in Macronutrient Content Modulate Appetite and Appetite-Regulating Hormones in Healthy Adults.,” J Nutr, vol. 146, no. 3, pp. 637–45, Mar. 2016. [PubMed]
J. Baum, M. Gray, and A. Binns, “Breakfasts Higher in Protein Increase Postprandial Energy Expenditure, Increase Fat Oxidation, and Reduce Hunger in Overweight Children from 8 to 12 Years of Age.,” J Nutr, vol. 145, no. 10, pp. 2229–35, Oct. 2015. [PubMed]
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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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