Ultimate Guide to Whey Protein: Fat Loss, Muscle Building, and Health
by: Robbie Durand
If your planning on going on a diet, there are some things of things that you have identified to make your weight loss successful: diet, exercise, and supplementation protocol. Everyone knows that cutting back on calories and upper your cardio is necessary, but the newest research suggests that adding whey protein may make your diet program easier.
Whey Protein: Ultimate Diet Supplement
Whey protein in conjunction with your fat burner may be the ultimate thermogenic supplement. For example, a previous study examined 40 obese subjects (19 men, 21 women) between the ages of 35 and 65. The subjects were placed on a diet and consumed 750 fewer calories than their metabolism required. They supplemented their diet with either 54 grams of a whey protein supplement (27 grams twice daily), 52 grams of a soy protein (26 grams twice daily), or 50 grams of a carbohydrate supplement (25 grams of maltodextrin twice daily) for 14 days. At the end of the study, while the control group had less of a decrease in lean body mass than the whey protein group (0.7% versus 1.2%), the rate of muscle protein synthesis was significantly higher in the whey protein group compared to either the soy protein or control groups. This indicates a greater long-term benefit to muscle mass preservation with whey protein supplementation during calorie-restricted diets compared to either soy protein or carbohydrate supplementation. The researchers concluded that whey protein supplementation attenuated the decline in rates of muscle protein synthesis after weight loss, which may be of importance in the preservation of lean mass during longer-term weight loss interventions. The study reinforces the need for the use of a whey protein supplement during caloric restriction to preserve muscle while losing fat.
High Protein Reduces Appetite Better than Fats or Carbs
Dietary protein is considered the most satiating macronutrient, researchers wanted to examine how protein compared to fats and carbohydrates on ratings of appetite. Participants received a breakfast consisting of low and high protein drinks (protein: 9%, 24%, or 40% of energy from protein combined with carbohydrates and fats. Appetite ratings and blood samples were collected and assessed at baseline and every 30 and 60 min, respectively, until a lunch test meal, which participants consumed ad libitum, was served 3.5 h after breakfast. At the end of the study, appetite ratings tended to be suppressed (13%) with increasing protein content. Researchers found that protein had a more pronounced effect on suppressing appetite than did carbohydrates and fat. Modulating the nutritional profile of a meal by replacing fat with protein can influence appetite in healthy adults.
Diets with High Protein Can Enhance Sleep
Just about every bodybuilder has heard that whey protein may improve weight loss, but get ready for some exciting news, dieters taking high protein also sleep better. Before we get into the new sleep studies, let examine the research regarding whey protein and weight loss.
Whey Protein and Fat Loss
Acute studies have reported that whey protein isolate (60 grams per day) evaluated over six months resulted in lower cortisol levels (lean muscle preservation) and increased ghrelin release (satiety enhancement). A previous study published in Nutrition & Metabolism reported that people on whey protein supplementation lost more weight than a control group receiving maltodextrins in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet. Each subject was instructed to consume one supplement 20 minutes before breakfast and one supplement 20 minutes before dinner. The whey protein supplement contained 10 grams of protein per serving as a combination of intact whey protein and peptides. It also contained minerals that were purified from milk. The control group received an isocaloric beverage containing maltodextrin. After 12 weeks, weight loss was consistently higher in the whey protein subjects, primarily the result of losing body fat (subjects taking whey protein lost 6.1 percent of their body fat mass). The whey protein group subjects also lost significantly less lean muscle mass compared to control subjects. Whey protein may be the perfect fat-loss supplement when dieting for an important event or for targeting fat loss while maintaining lean muscle. Since whey is nutrient dense but relatively low in energy (~4 kcal/g), supplementation is an efficient method to promote skeletal muscle anabolism while promoting catabolism in fat cells and, therefore, is hypothesized to improve both muscle growth and fat loss.
Whey Protein May Enhance Metabolism
More exciting news was recently reported that whey protein taken before exercise can rev up your fat metabolism. To determine whether whey protein supplementation taken before an acute bout of heavy resistance training would influence postexercise resting energy expenditure and fat oxidation. Eight resistance-trained subjects participated in a double-blind two-trial crossover design, where resting energy expenditure and fat oxidation were measured at 7:00 a.m. on four consecutive days. On the second day of trial 1, subjects consumed either whey protein (18 g of whey protein, 2 g of carbohydrate, 1.5 g of fat) or carbohydrates (1 g of whey protein, 19 g of carbohydrate, 1 g of fat) 20 min before a single bout of heavy resistance exercise (nine exercises, 4 sets, 70%-75% 1-repetition maximum). Resting energy expenditure and fat metabolism were measured 24 and 48 h after heavy resistance exercise. During trial 2, the same protocol was followed except subjects consumed the carbohydrate supplement before heavy resistance exercise. Compared with baseline, REE was elevated significantly in both carbohydrate and protein at 24 and 48 hours after heavy resistance exercise. At 24 hours after heavy resistance exercise, resting energy expenditure in response to whey protein was significantly greater compared with carbohydrate. Fat oxidation increased substantially in both carbohydrate and whey protein group at 24 hours after heavy resistance exercise compared with baseline. No differences were observed in total energy intake, macronutrient intake, or heavy resistance exercise volume. Timing whey protein before heavy resistance exercise may be a simple and effective strategy to increase energy expenditure by elevating resting energy expenditure the day after heavy resistance exercise. Increasing resting energy expenditure could facilitate reductions in body fat mass and improve body composition if nutritional intake is stable. The newest research also suggests that dieting athletes sleep better with higher protein diets, which was recently published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Higher Protein Enhances Sleep While Dieting
Most studies have suggested that a high carbohydrate dinner before bed will enhance sleep due to the increased insulin and tryptophan levels. This implies greater synthesis of serotonin and melatonin and, thus, better sleep. In contrast, a recent pilot study found that subject’s consuming more dietary protein resulted in better sleep after four weeks of weight loss.
A new study set out to examine the impact of high protein diets, weight loss, and its effect on sleep duration. Then, in the main study, 44 overweight or obese participants were included to consume either:
-a normal-protein or
-a higher-protein weight loss diet.
After three weeks of adapting to the diet, the groups consumed either 0.8 or 1.5 kilograms of protein for each kg of body weight daily for 16 weeks. The participants completed a survey to rate the quality of their sleep every month throughout the study. Those who consumed more protein while losing weight reported an improvement in sleep quality after three and four months of dietary intervention.The researchers thought that the mechanism of the effect of protein on sleep after acute feeding may be related to Trp, Tyr, and the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters (serotonin, melatonin, and dopamine). The whey-derived a-lactalbumin was suggested to improve sleep quality or related outcomes in both animals and humans because of its high content of Trp (56–58).