What is the Protein Leverage Hypothesis and Why it is False?

  • By Fahad Ahmad

What is the Protein Leverage Hypothesis and Why it is False?

In many nutrition and fitness circles, you may have heard how protein is the most satiating macronutrient and how it can lead to fat loss while staying full. In the late 1980s to 1990s, it was hypothesized that one of the leading causes of obesity was a percentage reduction in protein in people's diet when compared to carbohydrates and fats. In other words, increasing protein in one's diet would lead to reduced energy intake and consequently leanness among the public.

Later down the road, however, scientists tested this hypothesis and concluded that this was not true, especially with studies showing no increase in energy intake with a decrease in protein content. Additionally, a handful of very high-quality and controlled studies using protein isolates(purest forms of protein) showed that protein performed worse than water in reducing energy intake!

The big takeaway is that protein on its own does not reduce energy intake and, depending on the form, may contribute to obesity and increased energy intake. This myth about protein is especially prevalent in the fitness industry where protein supplements are sold as fat loss tools.

Conclusively, the ability of a food to reduce energy intake relies primarily on the form or structure of the food while having little to do with macronutrient composition. The falsification of the protein leverage hypothesis is why we don't add an overbearing amount of protein into our Energy Pods. If we are to create better foods for the future, we have to rely on accurate and quality science that works.
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