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From Mary Shomon Your Thyroid Guide


Eating More Protein, Less Carbohydrates May Be Healthier -- And Good for Your Thyroid

April, 2001

by Mary J. Shomon

According to researcher Donald Layman, a professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign, a diet that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than is typically recommended may help people maintain an better body weight and overall health.

Layman studied 24 mid-life women all above ideal weight for 10 weeks, eating 1,700-calories-a-day diets. One group ate according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid for health diet – which includes 55 percent carbohydrates, 15 percent protein (68 grams per day) and 30 percent fat. The experimental group ate a diet of 40 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent protein (125 grams a day) and 30 percent fat.

While the average woman lost about 16 pounds during the study, the women on the higher protein diet lost more than 12 pounds in body fat, and less than 2 pounds in muscle mass. Those on the food pyramid diet lost 10 pounds of body fat, and 3 pounds of muscle mass. The ratios of body fat to muscle mass lost are considered highly significant. According to Layman, "The protein diet was twice as effective," Layman said.

Interestingly, the study also found that women on the higher protein diet had higher levels of thyroid hormone, which suggests that they had a higher metabolic rate. The higher protein diet also resulted in a noticeable drop in triglyceride levels (a measure of fat in the blood) and a slight increase in HDL (the "good" cholesterol).

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