Changes in body fat percentage during body weight stable conditions of increased daily protein intake vs. control

S. Soenen*, M.S. Westerterp-Plantenga

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to examine if increased protein intake vs. control influences body fat percentage during stable body weight. DESIGN: Body composition was assessed before and after a 3-month isoenergetic dietary intervention of 2MJ/d supplements exchanged with 2MJ/d of habitual ad libitum energy intake. The parallel design consisted of protein-rich supplements in the protein group (n=12) and an isoenergetic combination of carbohydrate and fat supplements in the control group (n=12). Daily protein intake was calculated from a 24h urinary nitrogen. Body composition was measured by a combination of underwater-weighing technique, deuterium-dilution technique and whole-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), a method that allows for estimation of 4-body compartments (fat and lean; water, bone and rest). RESULTS: Subjects were weight stable and did not change their habitual physical activity. Daily protein intake increased in the protein group during the intervention compared to baseline with +11+/-14g (P<0.05) vs. the control group that did not change their protein intake -1+/-15g. This resulted in a significant difference in protein intake during the intervention of 80+/-21g of the protein group vs. 59+/-11g of the control group (P<0.01). Change in body fat percentage showed a significant groupxtime interaction of decreased body fat percentage of -1.0+/-1.1% of the protein group vs. 0.1+/-0.6% of the control group (P<0.05). The groupxtime interaction of change in fat mass was significant (P<0.05), and change in fat-free mass was a trend (P=0.05). Fat-free mass of the protein group had increased with +0.9+/-0.6kg (P<0.01), and fat mass had decreased with -0.6+/-0.8kg (P<0.05), while the control group had not changed. CONCLUSION: During increased daily protein intake vs. control body fat percentage decreased with unchanged physical activity during 3months of stable body weight.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-638
Number of pages4
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2010


  • Fat mass
  • Fat free mass
  • Body weight
  • Protein
  • DIET
  • MASS

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