RCT of a High-protein Diet on Hunger Motivation and Weight-loss in Obese Children: An Extension and Replication




This study aimed to evaluate the weight loss and hunger motivation effects of an energy-restricted high-protein (HP) diet in overweight and obese children. In total, 95 overweight and obese children attended an 8-week (maximum) program of physical activity, reduced-energy intake, and behavior change education. Children were randomly assigned to one of two isoenergetic diets (standard (SP): 15% protein; HP: 25% protein), based on individually estimated energy requirements. Anthropometry and body composition were assessed at the start and end of the program and appetite and mood ratings completed on the first 3 consecutive weekdays of each week children attended camp. The HP diet had no greater effect on weight loss, body composition, or changes in appetite or mood when compared to the SP diet. Overall, campers lost 5.2 ± 3.0 kg in body weight and reduced their BMI standard deviation score (sds) by 0.25. Ratings of desire to eat increased significantly over the duration of the intervention, irrespective of diet. This is the third time we have reported an increase in hunger motivation in weight-loss campers and replicates our previous failure to block this with a higher protein diet. Further work is warranted into the management of hunger motivation as a result of negative energy balance.