Effects of higher dietary protein intake on energy balance and metabolic control in children with long-chain 3-hydroxy acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) or trifunctional protein (TFP) deficiency

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The incidence of overweight and obesity is increasing among children with long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) or mitochondrial trifunctional (TFP) deficiency. Traditional treatment includes fasting avoidance and consumption of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. A diet higher in protein and lower in carbohydrate may help to lower total energy intake while maintaining good metabolic control. To determine the short-term safety and efficacy of a high protein diet, subjects were admitted to the General Clinical Research Center and fed an ad-libitum high-protein diet and a high-carbohydrate diet for 6 days each using a randomized, crossover design. Nine subjects with LCHAD or TFP deficiency, age 7-14 were enrolled. Body composition was determined by DEXA. Total energy intake was evaluated daily. Resting energy expenditure and substrate utilization were determined by indirect calorimetry. Post-prandial metabolic responses of plasma glucose, insulin, leptin, ghrelin, acylcarnitines, and triglyceride were determined in response to a liquid meal. Subjects had a higher fat mass, lower lean mass and higher plasma leptin levels compared to reference values. While on the high protein diet energy consumption was an average of 50 kcals/day lower (p = 0.02) and resting energy expenditure was an average of 170 kcals/day higher (p = 0.05) compared to the high carbohydrate diet. Short-term higher protein diets were safe, well tolerated, and resulted in lowered energy intake and increased energy expenditure than the standard high-carbohydrate diet. Long-term studies are needed to determine whether higher protein diets will reduce the risk of overweight and obesity in children with LCHAD or TFP deficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
JournalMolecular Genetics and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007



  • Dietary protein
  • Energy expenditure
  • Energy intake
  • Fatty acid oxidation disorders
  • Long-chain 3-hydroxyacylCoA dehydrogenase deficiency
  • Trifunctional protein deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

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