Metabolic Velocity and the Protein Leverage Hypothesis

Metabolic Velocity and the Protein Leverage Hypothesis

by Chris Shugart

What's the protein leverage hypothesis?

In a nutshell, protein has leverage over your eating habits. Primarily, protein influences and controls your intake of carbs and fats and, therefore, your overall caloric intake. In short, a low-protein diet triggers you to consume more carbs, fats, and total calories.

The protein leverage hypothesis says that your body "prefers and prioritizes" protein. If you don't give it the protein it wants, various bodily mechanisms drive you to keep eating. Call it a protein threshold. If you don't meet it, you stay hungry and have cravings – your body's way of asking for protein.

Show Me the Study!

Researchers put 22 people on a few different meal plans, including these two:

  • 10% protein diet (66 grams of protein per day)
  • 25% protein diet (138 grams of protein per day)

The participants were told they could eat as much or as little food as they wanted, and snacks were available all day. Foods were weighed and everything was analyzed and controlled. The researchers knew exactly how many calories everyone consumed.

So, what happened?

The 10% low-protein group consumed 260 more calories than the higher-protein group daily. Eating 260 more calories per day – triggered by low protein intake – equals 1820 extra calories per week and 7280 bonus calories per month. All things being equal, that's enough to gain two pounds of body fat every month.

The Metabolic Velocity strategy fits nicely into this new research. Two 2-scoop MD protein shakes per day equals 88 grams of protein. Along with your regular solid meals, this makes it easy to meet the protein threshold and keep your hunger and cravings in check.