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Eating More Protein While Losing Weight May Improve Sleep Quality

Short sleep duration and compromised sleep quality have been linked to metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and premature death. A recent study suggests that overweight and obese adults who are actively losing weight sleep better when following a high-protein diet.


Participants in the study included 44 overweight or obese people who followed either a normal-protein or a higher-protein weight loss diet for three weeks. After that three-week period, they consumed either 0.8 or 1.5 grams of protein for every kg of body weight daily for 16 weeks. All of the participants completed a sleep quality survey every month.


A dietician created a weight loss diet for each participant tailored to meet his or her daily calorie needs. Each diet included a reduction of 750 calories in fats and carbohydrates. The protein amount varied based on whether they were in the high or low protein group. The proteins used were beef, pork, soy, legumes, and milk protein.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers noted that the participants who consumed more protein while losing weight reported better sleep quality after three and fourth months of dietary intervention.


Researchers from Purdue University conducted the study. It was published in the March 2016 issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.


Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood. It is also a building block for enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Previous studies suggest that consuming high amounts of protein may help build muscle and increase metabolism.


Previous studies have linked not getting enough sleep with faster cognitive decline, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Some methods to try to improve your sleep include eating less high fat foods, eliminating “blue light” (such as the light from your phone) just before bed, and increasing exercise levels.

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