Hot Topics

Want to lose weight? Skip the fad; stick to the facts

Weight loss and management

Weight loss and weight management are hot topics. News headlines routinely peddle the “diet du jour” as a key in weight management.  Gluten-free, paleo, and low-carbohydrate diets have been some of the biggest trends in recent media.  While news continues to draw attention to diet trends, research has focused on understanding the best diets to support healthy weight.

Protein-rich foods are thought to be beneficial for weight loss. Consuming a high-protein diet is believed to help weight loss efforts by increasing feelings of fullness, which can result in decreased consumption of total calories.1,2 Consuming high-quality protein while trying to lose body fat is also important in order to avoid muscle loss.3  Soyfoods provide higher quality plant protein than other plant foods.4,5 With options that include soymilk, tofu, tempeh, and textured vegetable protein, soyfoods offer a versatile and tasty way to consume more protein.

Research has also compared low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets in weight loss. A recent study of 600 obese men and women followed either a low-fat or a low-carbohydrate diet.6 The researchers wanted to understand which of these diets, if either, was more effective for weight loss. It is important to note that there were diet counselors that instructed the participants on how to include lots of vegetables and whole foods in their diets while also avoiding sugar, refined flour, and trans fats.

After 12 months on the diet, the average weight lost was 13 pounds in each diet group.  Over the course of the year, most participants gradually became less strict with their diets, so weight loss amounts were modest. Regardless of the diet, both groups had decreased the amount of total calories they ate by about 400-600 calories per day.  In other words, both diets were similarly effective and both diets helped the participants lose weight. Results showed that consuming a healthy diet – either low-fat or low-carbohydrate – can result in a small reduction in calories and result in weight loss.

Whether the diet focus is high-quality protein, low-fat or low-carbohydrate foods, soyfoods offer a variety of healthful options that can easily support dietary efforts.  Soy is low in fat, cholesterol free, and provides high-quality plant protein. Weight loss trends may come and go, but soyfoods can easily be part of healthful diets that encourage healthy weight.

  1. Astrup A. The satiating power of protein–a key to obesity prevention? Am J Clin Nutr. 2005;82(1):1-2.
  2. Leidy HJ, Clifton PM, Astrup A, et al. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015;1011320S-9S.
  3. Mitchell CJ, Milan AM, Mitchell SM, et al. The effects of dietary protein intake on appendicular lean mass and muscle function in elderly men: a 10-wk randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2017;106(6):1375-83.
  4. Cope MB, Erdman JW, Jr., Allison DB. The potential role of soyfoods in weight and adiposity reduction: an evidence-based review. Obesity reviews: an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity. 2008;9(3):219-35.
  5. Hughes GJ, Ryan DJ, Mukherjea R, et al. Protein digestibility-corrected amino acid scores (PDCAAS) for soy protein isolates and concentrate: Criteria for evaluation. J Agric Food Chem. 2011;59(23):12707-12.
  6. Gardner CD, Trepanowski JF, Del Gobbo LC, et al. Effect of low-fat vs low-carbohydrate diet on 12-month weight loss in overweight adults and the association with genotype pattern or insulin secretion: The DIETFITS randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 2018;319(7):667-79.
Dr. Mark Messina

Author Dr. Mark Messina

PhD in Nutrition, Executive Director, Soy Nutrition Institute. Expert in soyfoods and isoflavones.

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