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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2017 Jul 16. doi: 10.1002/oby.21919. [Epub ahead of print]

Oral contraceptive pill alters acute dietary protein-induced thermogenesis in young women.

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Department of Medicine/Physiology, University of Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland.



There is much interest in the role of dietary protein for weight control. However, there remains a need to characterize individual determinants of the thermogenic effects of protein. This study aimed to investigate the influence of menstrual cycle phase and the combined, monophasic oral contraceptive pill on the thermogenic response to a standardized high-protein (HP) versus normal-protein (NP) meal.


Following an overnight fast, resting energy expenditure (EE) was measured in 16 healthy young women (8 taking and 8 not taking the pill) and 8 men for 30 minutes pre ingestion and 3 hours post ingestion of a NP (11%) or HP (24%) meal.


There was no effect of menstrual phase or contraceptive pill use on fasting EE or NP response. However, HP increased EE significantly more than NP in women not taking the oral contraceptive pill and in men, but not in women taking the pill.


This study shows an absence of the greater thermic effect of HP versus NP in women taking the oral contraceptive pill and has important implications regarding the effectiveness of HP for body weight regulation in women. With current obesity treatment/prevention strategies remaining largely ineffective, understanding the relationship between oral contraceptive pill use and protein-induced thermogenesis may enable the successful recalibration of existing dietary recommendations.

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