Recruitment is scheduled for March 2021 through March 2022 and men and women 18–45 years of age will be included. A timeline is illustrated in Table Table2,2, and a flow chart outlining participant flow in Fig. 1. The upper age cut-off is set to avoid heterogeneity as blood concentrations of glutathione, which is closely associated with cysteine metabolism, decrease with increasing age, possibly due to higher requirements [22]. Healthy participants with overweight and obesity (BMI 27–35 kg/m2) will be recruited to participate in the trial. For screening purposes and in order to ensure that potential participants with BMI between 27 and 30 are not erroneously included due to high lean mass and low body fat percentage, they will be asked to additionally report their waist circumference (WC). Traditional WC cut-offs for the definition of overweight are > 80 and > 94 cm, for women and men respectively [23]. A follow-up phone call will be made to verify all the reported information. Screening will be performed 1–3 weeks prior to baseline. Exclusion criteria include smoking, suffering from any chronic disease, established co-morbidities, veganism (≥ 1 month), pregnancy or breastfeeding the last 3 months, significant weight loss (≥ 5%) over the last 3 months and high intensity training (interval running, crossfit, heavy strength training) more than 3 session per week. An overview of the inclusion and exclusion criteria is given in Table Table33.

Content for the schedule of enrolment, intervention and assessments according to SPIRIT requirements

DXA dual X-ray absorptiometry, SAAlow diet low in methionine and cysteine, SAAhigh diet high in methionine and cysteine, WRIC whole-room indirect calorimetry

Flowchart of the study. SAA sulfur amino acids

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Recruitment of participants will primarily occur through social media campaigns accompanied by an informative web article about potential benefits of plant-based diets with low SAA content, and a screening questionnaire. If eligible, a follow-up phone call will be made to confirm and clarify information regarding inclusion and exclusion criteria. Eligible participants will sign an informed consent (Additional file 2, in Norwegian) where project design and measures for data collection, storage and future use are described. Data will be stored safely in an encrypted space provided by Services of Sensitive Data at the University of Oslo. A biobank for long-term storage of biological material will be created for future exploratory analyses. The study will be conducted according to the guidelines in the Declaration of Helsinki, and has been approved by the Regional Ethics Committee for Medical Research in South East Norway (Reference No: 123644) and the Norwegian Centre for Research Data (Reference No: 723047) in line with the current regulations on data protection.

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