Supplements: Whey Protein

SupplementsSupplements

Whey protein may help you lose weight.

One of the most common supplements for muscle building and weight loss is Whey Protein.  I have heard a lot of outlandish claims on it.  I remember a press conference on YouTube a few years ago when one of the better-known companies claimed a higher rate of muscle building with their proprietary blend of Whey Protein.   Sorry I could not find the video.  The press report for a fitness magazine asks if the subject took steroids and the company respond that they did not test or restrict of there supplements duty the trial.  Now, that is a reliable study.

Whey Protein
Figure 1: Whey Protein

What is Whey Protein?  Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk.  Mile is made of both casein and whey proteins. When milk coagulates, the casein and whey separate. Casein is what forms the curds and is a fat-soluble part of milk.  Whey protein is the water-soluble part of milk.

Whey is the part of milk that is used as a protein supplement. It has a high bioavailability and is very useful for hitting targeted daily protein goals. High Bioavailability represents the percentage of protein or just how much our bodies can make use of certain protein sources.  Simply put whey is absorbed faster than other forms of protein and is very useful by our bodies to increases muscle protein synthesis. 

Does protein cause Kidney Failure?  No.  In a healthy individual, protein or increased protein intake does not cause kidney failure.  That being said, anyone with kidney failure should see a physician and get an opinion on how much protein they should eat.

 Research:

  1. One study looked at whey protein in rats.  The study concluded that a diet high in whey protein diet reduces energy intake and adiposity and that whey protein is more effective than red meat in reducing body weight gain and increasing insulin sensitivity​[1]​.  An increase in insulin sensitivity will reduce fat storage and appetite over time.  
  2. Another study looked at dairy including whey and adipose or fat composition.  It found that 3 or more servings of dairy per day reduce adipose content of subjects with those diets​[2]​.
  3. A final study by Hall showed that whey reduced appetite or increased satiety response to whey and emphasize the importance of considering the impact of protein type on the appetite​[3]​.   
whey protein powder scoop
Figure 2: Whey Protein Powder with Scoop

The bottom line: Whey protein is a safe means to reduce your appetite and help increase weight loss.  The weight loss will not be large, but with the decrease in appetite, whey may be beneficial in your weight loss plan.  Whey protein is bitter so you need to flavor it.  

References:

  1. [1]
    D. Belobrajdic, G. McIntosh, and J. Owens, “A high-whey-protein diet reduces body weight gain and alters insulin sensitivity relative to red meat in wistar rats.,” J Nutr, vol. 134, no. 6, pp. 1454–8, Jun. 2004, doi: 10.1093/jn/134.6.1454. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15173411
  2. [2]
    M. Zemel, “Role of calcium and dairy products in energy partitioning and weight management.,” Am J Clin Nutr, vol. 79, no. 5, pp. 907S-912S, May 2004, doi: 10.1093/ajcn/79.5.907S. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15113738
  3. [3]
    W. Hall, D. Millward, S. Long, and L. Morgan, “Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite.,” Br J Nutr, vol. 89, no. 2, pp. 239–48, Feb. 2003, doi: 10.1079/BJN2002760. [Online]. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12575908
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About the Author

ChuckH
I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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