The secret to low-carb, high-protein diets may not be in the lowered carbohydrates. A new study reference in the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter suggests that it may be the higher levels of protein intake that lead to success on programs such as the Atkins Diet and the South Beach Diet. A study by the University of Washington seems to indicate that higher amounts of protein lead to a fuller feeling, lowering the overall caloric intake.

Volunteers in the study actually reduced their calories by an average of 441 per day by sticking with a ratio of 30% protein, 20% fat and 50% carbohydrates, although they had no ceiling on the number of calories they ate. During the 12 weeks of this portion of the study, they lost an average of 10.8 pounds. A recently funded European trial will expand this study and perhaps provide answers to why protein makes one feel fuller and what are the long-term health risks of a high-protein diet. Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, October 2005, Vol. 23, No. 8