It is commonly thought that those who eat vegetarian diets don’t get enough protein. Animal meat is synonymous with dietary protein for general crowd. We tend to forget dairy protein and plant based protein sources.
Animal protein does provide a complete range of amino acids but a combination of plant proteins can also serve the same person. Keeping the quality aside, what do you think about satiating properties of plant protein?
The idea of eating only salads for lunch generally makes you think that won’t you feel hungry. Does this apply to plant protein? Interestingly this study shows that vegetarian diets are as satiating as meat based diets.
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What happened in this study?
The study was designed with the purpose of understanding appetite control in response to meat protein based diet and vegetarian protein based diet. For 3 days the participants were given maintenance diet after which they were given with meat high protein diet or vegetarian (soy based) high protein diet for 2 weeks.
Diets were made of 30% protein, 30% fat and 40% carbohydrates. Satiety tests were recorded 30 minutes post meal.
What was the outcome?
Over 2 weeks individuals lost on average 2.4kg with soy based diet and 2.3 kg with meat based diet. There was decrease in fat mass and muscle mass was preserved. Ratings for hunger and fullness did not differ in both diet groups.
Activity of appetite related hormones was also similar with both types of protein.
How did this occur?
Protein is the most satiating food group. Peptides (smaller units of proteins) interact with certain receptors in the gut which send satiety signals to the brain. The brain in response stimulates release of glucose and appetite controlling hormones to suppress hunger.
Usually high protein diets that are studied consist of mixed meat sources which are not supported much due to its side effects on gut health. Interestingly soy protein also serves as a great protein source that is as satiating as meat.
What does this mean?
Vegetarian protein diets especially soy protein based diets are as satiating as meat based diet and result in similar weight loss outcomes. This comes as great news for vegetarians and researchers feel that it is a healthier alternative to meat based weight loss diets.
This study busts the myth of vegetarian diets being deficient in protein and not being satiating enough. Live a ‘healthy’ life to its fullest!
Read the full paper here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/100/2/548.full.pdf+html