4. Turn to Fish, Chicken and Beans for Protein
We’re not advising a high-protein, low-carb diet (short-term studies of these diets do show improved weight loss, but the diets don’t seem to have any advantage over other diets in the long term), just that you make it a point to eat some protein with every meal (and every snack, too). Other studies have shown that people on high-protein diets that are also rich in “slow-burning” carbohydrates low on the glycemic index (such as fruits and vegetables, beans, and whole-wheat pasta) are less hungry and lose more weight than people on low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets.
Getting enough protein when you’re dieting also helps you lose fat, not muscle. For instance, in a small 10-week study, one group of women ate 275 to 300 grams (9 to 10 ounces) of protein a day for 10 weeks and a reduced amount of carbohydrates. The control group ate about half that amount of protein and about a third more carbohydrates. Although both groups took in the same number of calories and lost about 7.7 kilograms (17 pounds), the women on the higher-protein diet lost 1 more kilogram (2 pounds) of fat and 450 grams (1 pound) less muscle than the control group. Don’t overdo protein, though. People with type 2 diabetes, which often affects the obese, are at greater risk for kidney disease, and overeating protein may increase the problem.