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Post-menopausal women should consume protein 'to avoid losing muscle when dieting'
Post-menopausal women who are trying to lose weight should try to consume protein to maintain their muscles and physical function, a new US study suggests.
Researchers from the University of Illinois have found that dieters who add plenty of protein to their diet will find it not only keeps hunger at bay, meaning people lose more weight, but it also keeps the ratio of fat to muscle in better proportion.
Post-menopausal women who consume a high-protein weight-loss diet will find it is more protective of their muscle, explained Ellen Evans, a former associate professor of kinesiology and community health at the university and member of the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
If women lose muscle as well as weight, it can affect their strength, balance and how well they can carry out everyday tasks, the researchers said.
A six-month double-blind small-scale study was carried out on 31 healthy, post-menopausal obese women.
It showed that women who consumed more protein lost 3.9 per cent more weight and had a 5.8 per cent higher thigh muscle volume than females who did not.
According to a study released last month by the UK's University of Oxford, weight has the biggest effect on breast cancer risk in post-menopausal women.