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Want to eat a healthier diet? Up your intake of protein

Eating more protein while you're on a diet prompts good things to happen. You'll make better food choices and lose less lean muscle mass. In this episode of NewsMD's "Health Fusion," Viv Williams checks out a new study from Rutgers University.

Raw salmon fillet
Salmon is a healthy source of protein.
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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Want to make healthier food choices and retain lean muscle mass while dieting? Eat more protein.

A study from Rutgers University shows that people who increase their intake of protein while on a diet make better food choices. Even if study participants ate just a little more protein, the benefits still happened.

Plus, the study shows that dieters who moderately increased their intake of protein powder also retained more lean muscle mass.

“It’s somewhat remarkable that a self-selected, slightly higher protein intake during dieting is accompanied by higher intake of green vegetables, and reduced intake of refined grains and added sugar,” said Dr. Sue Shapses, study author and a professor of nutritional sciences at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. “But that’s precisely what we found.”

The dieters who ate lower amounts of protein lost the same amount of weight. But dieters who ate more protein chose healthier foods, ate less sugar and cut back on refined grains. Plus, they were better able to maintain lean muscle.

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The research is published in the journal Obesity.

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Follow the  Health Fusion podcast on  Apple,   Spotify and  Google podcasts. For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at  vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.

MORE HEALTH FUSION:
After Hurricane Ian destroyed her home, a Minnesota woman looks beyond tragedy to find gratitude and compassion for others. Where does one find such resilience? In this "Health Fusion" column, Viv Williams finds there's more to it than just an individual's inner strength.

Opinion by Viv Williams
Viv Williams hosts the NewsMD podcast and column, "Health Fusion." She is an Emmy (and other) award-winning health and medical reporter whose stories have run on TV, digital and newspaper outlets nationwide. Viv is passionate about boosting people's health and happiness by helping them access credible, reliable and research-based health information from top experts. She regularly interviews experts and patients from leading medical institutions, such as Mayo Clinic.
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