Skip to the content

The use of protein for better weight management

According to data from Innova Market Insight Food & beverage launches with a weight management claim increased globally, featuring a +7% year-over-year growth when comparing 2019 and 2018 launches. In 2019, the top categories of global product launches tracked with a weight management claim were:

  • Sports Nutrition (35%)
  • Soft Drinks (12%)
  • Cereals (8%)

The top positionings of global product launches tracked with a weight management claim in 2019 were:

  • High/Source of Protein (42%)
  • Sports & Recovery (36%)
  • High/Source of Fiber (31%)

Over the past few decades, obesity has reached epidemic proportions, with over 1.9 billion adults (18 years and older) now considered obese based on body mass index (BMI). Sadly, childhood obesity has also risen dramatically. Higher body weight is associated with a number of health issues including increased risk of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, and breast, prostate, and colon cancers [1, 2, 3].  

With these concerning numbers, it’s no wonder that the market for weight management and weight loss products continues to grow year over year. 

A diet promoting healthy weight management may help prevent excess weight gain, reduce fat mass, and maintain improved body composition following initial weight loss. The underlying cause of being overweight or obese is often an energy imbalance in which more energy is consumed from meals than is used by the body throughout the day.

Protein diets well-studied for weight management benefits

Of the major macronutrients, proteins and their constituent amino acids have been shown to be both highly satiating, low in energy density, and highly thermogenic [4, 5, 6]. This means that high protein diets can help reduce energy intake and increase energy expenditure, both of which are important variables in tipping the energy balance towards weight loss and weight maintenance.

The effects of high protein diets on reducing fat mass and improving weight maintenance have been well-studied and show clear efficacy.  A meta-analysis was conducted on 74 clinical trials comparing higher versus lower protein diets on various health outcomes [7]. Effect sizes were pooled and compared using standardized mean difference and showed higher protein diets increased weight loss and decreased body mass index, waist circumference and triglycerides when compared to lower protein diets.

High-protein versus low-carbohydrate diets

It is well established that proteins are more satiating than carbohydrates and fats and many studies have demonstrated this relationship. High-protein, low-fat diets increase satiation both during and after meals [9, 10].

A clinical trial involving 132 obese subjects has shown that a high-protein-low-carbohydrate diet is more effective than a normal-protein-low-carbohydrate diet at decreasing body and fat mass [8]. The results of this study led authors to conclude that weight loss actually depends on high-protein and not on the low-carbohydrate portion of the diet [8].

High protein diets increase energy expenditure

The thermic effect of food, termed Diet Induced Thermogenesis (DIT), is the energy required to digest, absorb, metabolize and store food and nutrients. Of the major macronutrients, proteins require the greatest energy expenditure for their digestion. The energy required to digest protein is 15-30% higher than the energy required or fat digestion and 5-10% higher than that required to digest carbohydrates [4]. Consequently, a high protein diet will increase the number of calories burned per day compared to diets higher in carbohydrates and fats.

HydroBEEFTM, with its unique combination of meat and collagen protein and naturally occurring arginine and glycine, is a real food ingredient that provides product manufacturers with a new ingredient option to address an ever-growing number of consumers who are concerned about weight management and desire real food, clean label ingredients in the products they purchase.


  1. Bhupathiraju, S.N. and F.B. Hu, Epidemiology of Obesity and Diabetes and Their Cardiovascular Complications. Circ Res, 2016. 118(11): p. 1723-35.
  2. Ogden, C.L., et al., The epidemiology of obesity. Gastroenterology, 2007. 132(6): p. 2087-102.
  3. Clinical guidelines on the identification, evaluation, and treatment of overweight and obesity in adults: executive summary. Expert Panel on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight in Adults. Am J Clin Nutr, 1998. 68(4): p. 899-917.
  4. Pesta, D.H. and V.T. Samuel, A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats. Nutr Metab (Lond), 2014. 11(1): p. 53.
  5. Stubbs, J., S. Ferres, and G. Horgan, Energy density of foods: effects on energy intake. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2000. 40(6): p. 481-515.
  6. Drewnowski, A., Energy density, palatability, and satiety: implications for weight control. Nutr Rev, 1998. 56(12): p. 347-53.
  7. Santesso, N., et al., Effects of higher- versus lower-protein diets on health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2012. 66(7): p. 780-8.
  8. Soenen, S., et al., Relatively high-protein or 'low-carb' energy-restricted diets for body weight loss and body weight maintenance? Physiol Behav, 2012. 107(3): p. 374-80.
  9. Lejeune, M.P., et al., 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, 2006. 83(1): p. 89-94.
  10. Blom, W.A., et al., Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr, 2006. 83(2): p. 211-20.