Andrew Berry / October 24, 2013
Increased protein intake and meal fr… [Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013] – PubMed – NCBI. Link
Bodybuilders and weight trainers have long known that multiple meals, especially those high in protein should make up the foundation of a nutritional plan geared towards building lean muscle and maintaining and losing body fat. Yet another study was done at Skidmore College in Saratoga New York, confirming this again.
The study’s aim was to investigate how a normal (15%) or higher (35%) protein diet in intakes of three or six meals a day would effect abdominal fat, postprandial thermogenesis and cardiometabolic biomarkers in overweight people during 56 days of an energy balanced diet and energy restricted diet. There were three groups in the study: two high protein groups (35%), one high fed over 3 meals and the other over six. The third group followed a traditional (15% protein) diet over a three meal a day schedule. At the conclusion of the study the results showed that consuming a higher protein (35%) diet more frequently (6x) decreases body fat and abdominal body fat and increases lean body mass and the thermic effect of food more so that the other test groups. Additionally, this diet produced more favorable affects on the adipokines than the current macronutrient diet recommendations.
Adipokines or adipocytokines are cytokines (cell signaling peptides) secreted by adipose tissue in response to our nutritional intake and hormonal status. Two important ones to understand are adiponectin and leptin. Adiponectin is involved in regulating glucose levels as well as fatty acid breakdown. Leptin plays a key role in the brain by regulating energy intake and expenditure, as well as appetite and hunger.
So, the take home message is to eat a diet that has at least 35% of your total calories as protein and to divide that total intake over 6 meals. This provides a larger energy expenditure through metabolism, reduction in total and abdominal fat, as well as better regulation of appetite and hunger through manipulation if cell signaling secretions from the fat cells.