High Protein Diet Better than Mediterranean Diet?

The Issue
The encompassing medical term for the trend toward obesity and adult-onset diabetes is metabolic syndrome. In short, as a central feature, it involves an increase in insulin resistance. In other words, insulin is no longer as effective as it used to be, so blood sugar levels rise, and inflammation increases, setting the stage for a wide variety of ailments ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancers, to decreased immune system function. While an increase in bodyfat increases insulin resistance and can (in and of itself) cause metabolic syndrome, the harsh truth is that the more bodyfat a person has, the easier it is to add even more bodyfat and eventually lean toward full-blown diabetes.

Various diets have been touted to deal with or treat metabolic syndrome, obesity and diabetes. And while we know that the fix should involve taking in fewer calories that one burns in tandem with exercise (preferably resistance exercise) a recently published study found that high protein diets improved insulin resistance better than the typically touted Mediterranean Diet. This is a very significant finding with potentially far reaching metabolic and health effects.

What The Study Found
This was a 21 day, randomized study performed on 16 obese females. They were either on a high protein diet or a Mediterranean diet. Both diets where isocaloric (same number of calories). The investigators then looked at cardiometabolic parameters, body weight, glucose levels and gut microbiome composition. As compared to the Mediterranean diet, the subjects on the high protein diet showed a reduction in insulin resistance, improved glycemic variability and showed levels of microbiome composition associated with glucose stability.

What This Means To Us
The Mediterranean diet is widely recognized as a healthy diet in reducing disease risks and includes lots of veggies, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, olive oil etc. It has also been referred as a diet to help reduce the risk of diabetes as it is low in processed carbohydrates and sugars. It is considered a healthy diet. That said, a high protein diet, as Lean Body Nation members know, has also been proven in terms of supporting lean body mass while maintaining low body fat levels. Dietary protein activates the body’s metabolism during the digestive process – and does so more, in general, than the Mediterranean diet. Dietary protein is critically important because the more muscle tissue we have, the faster our metabolic rate and the more calories we burn throughout the day. By and large this is the reasoning behind the popularity and success of the Lean Body brand of ready-to-drink protein drinks.

But let’s get to the real heart of this whole metabolic syndrome / obesity / adult onset diabetes issue: It doesn’t matter what diet you’re on if you’re sedentary and taking in more calories that your metabolism is burning, you are going to gain bodyfat and therefore become more insulin insensitive. Period. This study is just more proof that if we want to look better, feel more energetic, stay healthier and live longer, then we would benefit from a higher protein diet, with a caloric intake that meets, but doesn’t exceed, our daily caloric expenditure. We should also exercise to add a synergistic layer of disease prevention and healthful benefits to both our body and our brain. That’s just all there is to it!

About the Author: Lee Labrada

Lee Labrada is the founder and CEO of Labrada Nutrition, makers of Lean Body protein shakes. Lee’s mission is to empower you with the nutritional products and the know-how to get into great shape and be healthy for life.

One of the world's best-known bodybuilding legends, Lee Labrada holds 22 bodybuilding
titles, including the IFBB Mr. Universe. Lee is an inductee of the IFBB Pro Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. He has appeared on the covers of more than 100 fitness magazines and has been featured on CNBC, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and ESPN as a fitness and nutrition expert. Lee is the best-selling author of The Lean Body Promise and co-founder of Lean Body Coaching. He is also the Host of The Lee Labrada Show. Check out his podcast here.

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.