Health and Training Benefits of a High Protein Diet

I recently wrote an article about how great high-protein diets can be, particularly when you’re aiming for body recomposition. But the benefits don’t stop there! A recent study demonstrated how extensive the positive effects of a high protein intake can be (1). Here are the major findings…

Study Design

Researchers created two groups of nine men in their 20s that had never weight trained before. Both groups participated in a 12-week weightlifting program using the same intensity and volume. Both groups ate the same total daily calories, however,

Group 1 consumed a “standard” diet of 60% carbs, 15% protein, and 25% fat, while Group 2 consumed a diet of 55% carbs, 30% protein, and 15% fat.

Findings & Implications

ALL the positive findings in this study were specific to Group 2 (high protein)! This is what they found:

– Significantly greater gains in lean body mass + greater loss of body fat (RECOMP!).

Since gaining, or at least maintaining lean body mass is a key goal in anti-aging medicine, this study would support the notion that a high protein diet can maximize longevity and quality of life.

Drastic increases in serum growth hormone.
Aside from making you leaner and more muscular, growth hormone can improve sleep quality, increase bone density, strengthen your heart, and improve the immune system.

Greater increases in total testosterone and free testosterone.
Testosterone is the key to muscle growth in the minds of many. But testosterone is important for so many things, such as reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and improved blood health.

Improved lipid profile, specifically HDLs. HDLs, or high-density lipoproteins, are known as the “good cholesterol.”
Because of their high density, they help to clear out arteries and keep them free of clogs.

Improved insulin sensitivity.
If your body is more sensitive to insulin, that means less will be required to elicit the appropriate response to consumed carbs. This will reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, as well as indirectly reduce the risk of cancer (increased insulin and blood sugar correlate with the risk of cancer).

This is only one of a multitude of studies discussing the benefits of a high protein intake. While this study is small, it does a great job of capturing how broadly beneficial high protein can be for our biochemistry, body composition, and long-term health. It says that, whether male or female, increasing your daily protein may improve your health longevity and quality of life.

Stay strong!

1. Kim HH1, et al. “Interactive effects of an isocaloric high-protein diet and resistance exercise on body composition, ghrelin, and metabolic and hormonal parameters in untrained young men: A randomized clinical trial.” J Diabetes Investig. 2014 Mar 23;5(2):242-7.

About the Author: Brett Deters

Brett is a second-year medical school student who has been training and living a fit lifestyle his entire life. He holds an advanced belt in Brazilian Jiu Jiutsu and has been published multiple times in scientific, peer reviewed journals. Brett is the son of former editor-in-chief of Muscle & Fitness magazine, Dr. Tom Deters.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.