A high-protein diet is your best choice for muscle building and fat loss. Eating more protein can also significantly improve overall health, lower chronic inflammation, and improve sexual function in men, according to new research from the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
The study found that in a population of obese diabetic men, a high-protein diet produced the best overall health benefits. Participants on a high-protein diet lost weight after eight weeks, reduced chronic inflammation, and improved sexual and cardiovascular function significantly more than a group that ate a low-calorie diet. The low-calorie diet group lost more weight than the high-protein diet group, and they improved sexual and cardiovascular function to the same degree, but they didn’t have any reduction in inflammation. Despite the elevated weight loss, a high-protein diet is preferred because, although it wasn’t tested in this study, muscle mass was likely reduced in conjunction with the low-calorie diet—numerous studies have shown lean mass loss to be a byproduct of low-calorie weight reduction with or without added strength training.
Interestingly, after the initial eight week study, all participants were put on the high-protein diet for the following 44 weeks, and at one year after the study ended, weight loss was maintained in both groups. This provides further support for the superiority of a high-protein diet for health and ideal body composition. Additionally, sexual function was found to have further improved over that 44-week period.
Additional benefits of both the low-calorie and the high-protein diets were improved LDL cholesterol scores, and greater insulin sensitivity as well as higher levels of sex-hormone binding globulin—an indicator of testosterone levels. While not tested in this study, performing resistance training while eating a high-protein diet will undoubtedly result in greater health and body composition improvements.
Khoo, J., Piantadosi, C., Duncan, R., Worthley, S., et al. Comparing Effects of a Low-Energy Diet and a High-Protein Low-Fat Diet on Sexual and Endothelial Function, Urinary Tract Symptoms, and Inflammation in Obese Diabetic Men. Journal of Sexual Medicine. August 2011. Published Ahead of Print.