Fat Reduction: A New Tack on Obesity

by Sandy Todd Webster on Mar 06, 2012

It might be time to shift the goal for obesity treatment away from just weight loss and body mass index to include fat reduction and a better understanding of nutrition science, say the authors of a Journal of the American Medical Association study (2012; 307 [1], 47-55).

At the crux of their findings? Body fat increased when healthy subjects took in more calories than they burned, and the calories themselves appeared to be more important than the amount of protein ingested. When subjects consumed more calories than they expended each day, they appeared to gain body fat and lose lean muscle if their food choices were low in protein.

“Among persons living in a controlled setting, calories alone account for the increase in fat; protein affected energy expenditure and storage of lean body mass, but not body fat storage,” concluded the authors.

The study. Twenty-five healthy people, aged 18-35, spent time in a controlled setting and were randomized to overconsume diets containing various amounts of protein.

Key findings.

  • Overeating produced significantly less weight gain in the low-protein diet group compared with the normal-protein diet group or the high-protein diet group.
  • Body fat increased similarly in all three protein diet groups and represented 50% to more than 90% of the excess stored calories.
  • Resting energy expenditure, total energy expenditure and body protein (lean body mass) did not increase during overfeeding with the low-protein diet. In contrast, resting energy expenditure and lean body mass increased significantly with the normal- and high-protein diets.

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About the Author

Sandy Todd Webster

Sandy Todd Webster IDEA Author/Presenter

Sandy Todd Webster is Editor in Chief of IDEA's publications, including the award-winning IDEA FITNESS JOURNAL and IDEA FOOD & NUTRITION TIPS, the industry's leading resources for fitness, wellness and nutrition professionals worldwide. Sandy joined IDEA in 2001 as executive editor of IDEA PERSONAL TRAINER and IDEA FITNESS MANAGER magazines and was promoted to lead the editorial team in 2003. More than 20 years in magazine publishing, marketing communications and creative services have shaped her straightforward approach to multi-channel communication. Early experience in Los Angeles as a sports writer/reporter, and then enriching years as a managing editor in allied health care publishing have pulled her across a spectrum of stimulating subject matter. Fitness, health and nutrition reside at the perfect center of this content continuum, she feels. A Chicago native, Sandy grew up fully engaged in various competitive sports. Her drive and dedication as an athlete translate to a disciplined work ethic and unwavering approach to challenge in her career. Shortly after graduating journalism school from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, she was recruited to L.A. for her first post in magazine publishing. After two decades of working on magazines--and now in the throes of applying the unbelieveable multi-media content delivery options available in the magazine 2.0 world--she is still "completely in love" with the creative process it takes to deliver meaningful, inspirational content to end users. She is an accomplished home cook and gardner who would love to combine those skills and passions with her health and fitness background to continue educating readers about a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle.