Nutrition tip: The Protein-Effect
Nutrition tip: The Protein-Effect
Proteins are the basic building blocks of life. They are the substance that makes up body cells, enzymes and hormones. Proteins also affect hunger, satiety and body weight. Here we explain the benefits of the protein effect in detail.
Foto: ©Fotolia/backaldrin

Protein increases energy consumption

In comparison to carbohydrates and fats, proteins are the least economic suppliers of energy during metabolism. One of the reasons for this is what is known as thermogenesis i.e. increased heat production after eating. This describes the energy expenditure required for digestion and metabolising (storage, transport) of food. At between 18 and 25%, the thermic effect is greatest when it comes to proteins. Thus protein metabolism provides the body with the least useful energy. In the case of carbohydrates, the percentage of thermogenesis lies between 4 and 7% and only 2 to 4% in the case of fats.

Reduced energy consumption after protein

After protein-rich meals, the stomach stays full longer, gluconeogenesis (new formation of glucose) in the liver is increased and the hormone ghrelin (an appetite stimulating hormone) decreases. As a result, energy intake during the next meal is significantly lower than after other foods. This effect has been proven in studies, where the intake of a ration offered after a meal defined as rich in protein was compared to the quantity consumed after a control meal.

Protein and satiety

In one study, normal and overweight subjects were found to eat around one-third less than usual after being injected with an endogenous protein, peptide YY (PYY). The same effect can be achieved through a high-protein diet.
A further possible mechanism for the greater sense of fullness is the higher concentration of satiety hormones GIP, GLP-1 and PYY, as well as cholecystokinin, which slows down gastric emptying. Vegetable proteins like legumes, cereals, seeds, kernels and nuts are more filling than animal protein.

Protein helps with weight loss

When compared to carbohydrate-rich diets, at a constant caloric intake and comparable weight loss, a greater loss of fat mass was found in protein-rich diets. Even after the reduction in weight, protein was observed to have a favourable effect on body composition.
After the reduction diet, the group was split. For a period of six months, one of the subgroups had 30g protein added to their weight maintenance diet. Subsequent weight gain in this group was lower than in the control group. In addition, in contrast to the control group, the gain was limited to an increase in lean mass (lean body mass is the almost fat-free body mass).

Protein stimulates activity

A research team from the University of Cambridge showed that protein-rich food stimulates and boosts the burning of calories. According to the study, this is due to the effect of protein building blocks “orexin cells”. These neuropeptide hormones, produced in the hypothalamus, have a variety of regulatory functions, including body weight, water balance, body temperature, and also influence the sleep-wake rhythm. Fatigue and weight gain are associated with a low production of orexin. The scientists had investigated the effects of different nutrients on orexin cells in the brains of mice. When the test animals were fed amino acid enriched solutions, the activity of these cells increased. A carbohydrate-rich diet, however, inhibited the orexin cells.

Protein bread

The protein trend is also evident in the baking industry. In protein bread, a large proportion of normal wheat flour is replaced by wheat or soy protein. Various oilseeds, e.g. flax seeds or sunflower seeds, are used to enhance taste and texture. On average, protein breads contain 25% protein and only 10% carbohydrates. The fat content is also around 10%. On the other hand, a normal mixed bread consists of about 44% carbohydrates, 7% protein and about 1% fat.
Of course, the backaldrin product range also contains high-protein breads. These include:
  • Night-Bread, which contains valuable ingredients like flax seeds, sesame and sunflower seeds, wheat sourdough and shredded soy.
  • PurPur®-Wholegrain Bread, with wholegrain purple wheat flour, rye flour, walnuts, shredded soy and sunflower seeds.
  • Actipan®, wholegrain rye sourdough, wholegrain wheat flour, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, shredded soy, wheat germ, sprout mixture and flea seed husks.

If you would like to find out more about the importance of protein, we recommend the following sites

The Kornspitz® team is always there for you. If you have any questions, requests, suggestions or tips, please send an email to

Mag. Gerda Reimann-Dorninger
Nutrition Scientist

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