The worldwide obesity issue is so significant the World Health Organization (WHO) coined the phrase “globesity” to describe the global challenge. The numbers are staggering: nearly one in four adults worldwide (1.6 billion) is overweight, and that number is projected to increase more than 40 percent by 2015. The economic impact of this epidemic is significant. In several developed countries, obesity has been estimated to account for 2 to 7 percent of total healthcare costs1
— in the United States, obesity-related costs are more than $147 billion each year2
. Increasingly, this problem also is affecting children, as more than 20 million children are overweight3
Lowering obesity levels is critical to improving overall health. Obesity is a risk factor for many significant health issues, including diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, stroke, heart disease and certain cancers4
. Obesity is a leading cause of death — it is the no. 5 leading risk factor for death worldwide and contributes to 2.8 million deaths each year5
. In the United States alone, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to obesity, which rapidly is approaching tobacco use as the no. 1 preventable cause of death6
Lowering overall caloric intake is a critical factor in weight loss, but eating the right types of foods is equally as important. Protein is increasingly viewed as a key nutritional component of weight loss and weight maintenance strategies7
. Research has shown replacing carbohydrates — especially refined carbohydrates — with protein sources low in saturated fat increases satiety and loss of body fat, while reducing loss of lean tissue, resulting in greater weight loss and possible improved body composition8
Protein helps drive weight loss by increasing satiety — suppressing appetite by extending time of the feeling of fullness. Feeling hungry is important to staying on a weight loss or weight maintenance plan — 53 percent of American dieters say they cheat on their diets because they are hungry9
. Protein is more satiating than either carbohydrates or fat10
. Soy protein specifically has been found to have a similar, and in some cases greater, effect on satiety than other commonly consumed high-quality proteins13
. Soy protein, found in many common foods, such as nutrition bars, beverages and baked goods, can be integrated easily into a weight maintenance program. View all sources cited
1 WHO Technical Report Series No. 894: “Obesity — preventing and managing the global epidemic.”
2 Finkelstein EA, Ruhm CJ, Kosa KM (2005). Economic causes and consequences of obesity. Annu Rev Public Health, 26: 239-67.
3 World Health Organization, Obesity and Overweight Fact Sheet, September, 2006.
4 Malnick SD, Knobler H. The medical complications of obesity. QJM. 2006; 99(9): 565-579.
6 Ali H. Mokdad, PhD; James S. Marks, MD, MPH; Donna F. Stroup, PhD, MSc; Julie L. Gerberding, MD, MPH. Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. JAMA. 2004;291:1238-1245.
8 Westerterp-Plantinga MS, Lejeune MP (2005). Protein intake and body-weight regulation. Appetite, 45: 187-190.
9 Datamonitor, 2009, Trends in Protein Intake, Attitudes and Behaviors.
10 Astrup A. The satiating power of protein – a key to obesity prevention? Am J Clin Nutr, 82: 1-2.
11 Halton TL, Hu FB (2004). The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr, 23: 373-85.
12 Yancy WS Jr, Olsen MK, Guyton JR, Bakst RP, Westman EC (2004). A low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-fat diet to treat obesity and hyperlipidemia: a randomized, controlled trial. Ann Intern Med, 140: 769-77.
13 Anderson G, Moore S (2004). Dietary proteins in the regulation of food intake and body weight in humans. J Nutr, 134: 974S-9S.
14 Semon BA, Leung PM, Rogers QR, Gietzen DW (1987). Effect of type of protein on food intake of rats fed high protein diets. Physiol Behav, 41:451-8.