Dietary Protein Restriction Improves Metabolic Dysfunction in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome in a Randomized, Controlled Trial

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  • Rafael Ferraz-Bannitz
  • Rebeca A. Beraldo
  • Augusto Peluso
  • Morten Dall
  • Babaei, Parizad
  • Rayana Cardoso Foglietti
  • Larissa Marfori Martins
  • Patricia Moreira Gomes
  • Julio Sergio Marchini
  • Vivian Marques Miguel Suen
  • Luiz C. Conti de Freitas
  • Luiz Carlos Navegantes
  • Marco Antônio M. Pretti
  • Mariana Boroni
  • Treebak, Jonas Thue
  • Marcelo A. Mori
  • Milton Cesar Foss
  • Maria Cristina Foss-Freitas

Dietary restriction (DR) reduces adiposity and improves metabolism in patients with one or more symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Nonetheless, it remains elusive whether the benefits of DR in humans are mediated by calorie or nutrient restriction. This study was conducted to determine whether isocaloric dietary protein restriction is sufficient to confer the beneficial effects of dietary restriction in patients with metabolic syndrome. We performed a prospective, randomized controlled dietary intervention under constant nutritional and medical supervision. Twenty-one individuals diagnosed with metabolic syndrome were randomly assigned for caloric restriction (CR; n = 11, diet of 5941 686 KJ per day) or isocaloric dietary protein restriction (PR; n = 10, diet of 8409 2360 KJ per day) and followed for 27 days. Like CR, PR promoted weight loss due to a reduction in adiposity, which was associated with reductions in blood glucose, lipid levels, and blood pressure. More strikingly, both CR and PR improved insulin sensitivity by 62.3% and 93.2%, respectively, after treatment. Fecal microbiome diversity was not affected by the interventions. Adipose tissue bulk RNA-Seq data revealed minor changes elicited by the interventions. After PR, terms related to leukocyte proliferation were enriched among the upregulated genes. Protein restriction is sufficient to confer almost the same clinical outcomes as calorie restriction without the need for a reduction in calorie intake. The isocaloric characteristic of the PR intervention makes this approach a more attractive and less drastic dietary strategy in clinical settings and has more significant potential to be used as adjuvant therapy for people with metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2670
Issue number13
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

    Research areas

  • caloric restriction, cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, protein restriction, type 2 diabetes

ID: 314159865