A new study out of Purdue University has found that adults who are achieving weight loss with a high-protein diet are sleeping better.
Wayne Campbell, Professor of Nutrition Science, notes that most of the research in this field focuses on how sleep plays a role in weight, but this current research switches the question around and looks at how weight loss with regard to the amount of protein intake affects sleep. Taking in a higher protein and lower calorie diet led to improved sleep quality in middle-aged adults compared to adults who lost the same amount of weight but did not increase their protein intake.
Affiliated with the American Society for Nutrition and funded by organizations like the National Pork Board, National Dairy Council, Beef Checkoff, National Institute of Health, and Purdue Ingestive Behavior Research, these findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The first part of the study was a pilot, analyzing the diet and sleep patterns of 14 participants. After four weeks of a high-protein diet, these participants showed significant improvement in their sleep. In the main study, 44 people who were obese or overweight were analyzed. Some had a normal-protein diet and others had a high-protein weight loss diet. They were given three weeks to adapt to the diet, with one group taking in 0.8 kg and the other 1.5 kg for each kilogram of weight. This was done for 16 weeks.
A survey was given to each participant to rate their quality of sleep each month of the study. Those with more protein in their diet reported drastically improved sleep quality over three and four months of the high-protein weight loss diet.
Diets were designed by a registered dietitian in order to meet individual energy needs of each participant, including cutting out 750 calories of fats and carbs while maintaining the proper amount of protein according to the study guidelines. Protein sources included pork, soy, beef, milk protein, and legumes.
Poor sleep quality and duration is frequently associated with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including early death; therefore, researchers of this study believe it is vital to understand the prevalence of sleep disorders and their relationship to diet and lifestyle. Understanding this, researchers state, will help develop intervention programs that will improve sleep quality.
Additionally, the lead researchers of this study are looking at how protein sources, quantity, and patterns affect body composition, weight, and appetite.
A higher protein diet while losing weight is already at the top of the list of healthy eating habits, and improved sleep quality is another benefit added to the list of advantages to this kind of diet, which also includes things like fat loss, regulation of blood pressure, and leaner body mass. We know that sleep is important for overall good health, but improving quality with diet is an important modifier to currently known information about the topic. It emphasizes the need for further research into the relationship between diet and sleep, using objective measurements of sleep to confirm the results.
Author: Rachael Herman is a professional writer with an extensive background in medical writing, research, and language development. Her hobbies include hiking in the Rockies, cooking, and reading.