Can Whey Protein Help You Lose Weight?

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Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk, with the other being casein protein. And when a coagulant is added to the milk, the casein and whey will start to separate. Whey protein being the water-soluble part of milk.

Generally speaking whey is safe for consumption, whey won’t harm your kidneys or liver unless you have a pre-existing condition or existing some form of existing damage. Whey is also a widely used supplement by athletes and most people performing some type of resistance based training. Whey is absorbed faster than other forms of protein, which also aids in muscle protein synthesis. 

How Much Whey Protein Should You Ingest?

The amount of whey protein you ingest on a daily basis will vary significantly from person

to person. And the amount of protein you will require will also depend on your goals, for example:

  • Athletes or someone with a highly active job for example wanting to drop body fat while preserving lean body mass (muscle) would want to aim for a daily intake of 1.5-2.2g/kg body weight.
  • For someone who is sedentary and not interested in having any specific body composition goals, then a daily intake of 1.0-1.5g/kg body weight would be a suitable amount for general health.

It’s also important to note, if you are ingesting your daily protein intake from food sources, supplementing with whey protein powder wouldn’t be necessary. For obese individuals the variations of protein would be calculated differently due to the significant difference in BMI of an overweight person.

How Can Whey Protein Help You Lose Weight?

Out of all the macronutrients (protein, fats, carbohydrates), protein has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF).

  • Carbohydrates: 5-15% of calories burned through digestion
  • Fats: 0-5% of calories burned through digestion
  • Protein: 20-35% of calories burned through digestion

This means that the more protein you eat, the more calories your body is going to utilise in order to digest and process the protein rich foods. Protein in general is what you want to aim high for to get this thermic effect, however recent studies have shown that whey in particular may satiate your appetite better, even better than other protein sources.

Recent studies have also proven with trials in a placebo-controlled study on whey protein and dieting, one group of dieters were given a whey protein supplement, and the other group was given a placebo. The whey protein group lost more fat than the control group and also maintained more lean body mass (muscle).

As whey protein aids in muscle protein synthesis, this is a very important and fundamental role with weight loss and maintaining muscle mass. Having whey protein at times when you are in a calorie restriction and performing high intensity resistance based training will allow your body to to metabolise these amino acids, instead of switching to the amino acids in your muscles.

Wrapping it all up

All recent studies have indicated that higher amounts of protein in general will have a significant and positive impact on body composition results, whether it be gaining lean body mass utilising muscle protein synthesis or maintaining lean body mass in a caloric restricted phase. And although the fundamental rule for weight loss will always be (calorie deficit), having sufficient amounts of a fast acting protein like whey on your side will also have significant advantages.

References

  1. Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1), 43.
  2. Frestedt, J. L., Zenk, J. L., Kuskowski, M. A., Ward, L. S., & Bastian, E. D. (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 8.
  3. Nosaka, K., Sacco, P., & Mawatari, K. (2006). Effects of amino acid supplementation on muscle soreness and damage. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 16(6), 620-635.