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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.

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