A diet high in protein, combined with regular dietitian sessions, is more effective at helping young women lose weight, research shows.

A University of Sydney study looked at the effect of diet, exercise and behaviour change in 71 overweight and obese women aged 18 to 25 over a year.

The women were randomly placed on either a higher protein or a higher carbohydrate diet, with both diets providing a similar amount of kilojoules, saturated fat and fibre.

All participants also met with a dietitian at least once and month and walked for 30 minutes every day.


After 12 months, all the women recorded significant drops in body weight.

However, the women on the higher protein diet lost nearly twice as much weight and fat as those on the carbohydrate diet.

"The women reported the higher protein diet kept them fuller for longer and had a positive effect on self-esteem," researcher Dr Helen O'Connor said.

"They also had better iron levels, compared with the women on the higher carbohydrate diet."