Whey protein versus collagen supplementation: One is a hit and the other misses the mark.
Protein supplements are usually used to control body weight, however, the impact of protein quality on body fat attenuation is unknown. Whey protein has long been touted as a potential addition to a weight loss diet to assist with weight loss. Whey has been linked to fat loss and a leaner body mass in those that use is as a supplement to a healthy diet. Whey also appears to promote satiety and has been very well researched. Collagen has been long pushed in the same manner but it is much less studied and far from proven as a benefit to weight loss.
In 2019, a research study looked a collagen supplementation as a means to assist with weight loss. Researchers investigated the eﬀects of isocaloric isoprotein supplementation of either whey protein or hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on dietary intake, adiposity, and biochemical markers in overweight women.
In this randomized double-blind study, 37 overweight and obese middle-aged women consumed sachets containing 40 g/rams per day of concentrated whey protein or hydrolysed collagen in the afternoon snack. At the beginning and after eight weeks of follow-up, body composition was evaluated by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and lipid proﬁle, insulin resistance, C-reactive protein, adiponectin, leptin, and nesfastin plasma concentrations were analyzed. Nesfatin is a neuropeptide produced in the hypothalamus of mammals and is shown to participate in the regulation of hunger and fat storage.
Supplements consumed were isocaloric and isoprotein, so there were no diﬀerences in caloric intake, protein, carbohydrate, and fat intakes. BMI increased in the collagen but did not change in the whey group. The whey group decreased the body fat and increased nesfatin concentrations when compared to the collagen group. The increase in nefastin should indicate a lower hunger level and less fat storage.
The bottom line: Whey protein supplementation in overweight women increased nesfatin concentrations and appears to promote an increase in the metabolic rate when compared to collagen supplementation for 8 weeks. Collagen does not appear to be an eﬀective supplement for overweight women who are attempting lose body fat. I would not recommend collagen for weight loss.
- B. M. Giglio et al., “Whey Protein Supplementation Compared to Collagen Increases Blood Nesfatin Concentrations and Decreases Android Fat in Overweight Women: A Randomized Double-Blind Study,” Nutrients, p. 2051, Sep. 2019, doi: 10.3390/nu11092051. [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu11092051