Scientists learn more about methionine-restricted diet improving health without cutting calories

Pennington Biomedical Research Center to become Louisiana's first mass vaccination site for...
Pennington Biomedical Research Center to become Louisiana's first mass vaccination site for coronavirus vaccine.(Source: Pennington Biomedical Research Center via WAFB)
Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 1:47 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - It’s estimated more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or have obesity, and over 40 percent of adults have prediabetes or Type 2 diabetes.

That’s why Dr. Thomas Gettys with Pennington Biomedical Research Center worked with food scientists at LSU to selectively take away methionine, an amino acid from casein. That is the main protein in milk and cheese.

This diet is known to taste bad and difficult to implement, but scientists are finding a way to make it edible.

“What we found was that if you limit the amount of a specific amino acid, methionine, to a low level, it produced a number of very beneficial effects,” said Dr. Thomas W. Gettys, Professor and Director of Nutrient Sensing and Adipocyte Signaling Laboratory.

During the study, scientists looked at the metabolism in mice, reduced-fat and improved insulin function that made the animal much healthier.

It also increased the lifespan of multiple experimental species.

“We’ve taken a critical step forward in developing therapeutic diets that are going to help us treat this epidemic of obesity that this country and the world are facing,” said Gettys.

Gettys said they’re not there yet but have completed an important step in getting the diet adapted to human needs.

He hopes that with more research, the palatable, methionine-restricted diet could ease a major frustration for those struggling to manage their weight without gaining back the pounds.

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