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Whey Protein Increases Fat Loss

Whey protein is often used by athletes and bodybuilders to help meet their daily protein requirement, recover from strenuous training, and build muscle. A 12-week study published in Nutrition & Metabolism suggests that not only can whey protein help you build muscle, but it can also increase body fat loss when dieting.

All of the subjects involved in the study were obese. For 12 weeks, the subjects were placed on a diet that was approximately 500 kcal less per day than what they were previously consuming. During the diet, one group of subjects consumed a special whey protein supplement, and the other group consumed a non-whey beverage of similar caloric value. The subjects consumed their assigned drink twice daily, first 20 min. before breakfast and again 20 min. before dinner.

As expected, all subjects lost weight over the course of the 12-week diet. The group consuming the whey protein supplement lost only slightly more weight than the group consuming the other beverage. Although there was not a big difference in weight lost, the group consuming the whey protein supplement lost significantly more fat and retained significantly more muscle than the group consuming the other beverage.

The fact that there was only a small difference in actual weight lost between the two groups is not surprising considering that all subjects had their daily caloried reduced by 500 and that the two beverages were of similar caloric value. What is significant about these results is that the whey protein group lost quite a bit more fat than the other group. One could argue that this is simply because the addition of whey protein helped to spare more muscle tissue, and when the same amount of weight is lost this inevitably leads to greater fat loss. This may be particularly true if some of the subjects were not consuming enough protein in their daily diet, as macronutrients were not taken into consideration as much as calories were in this study. Either way, whey protein is a great addition to any fat loss diet to help spare muscle and, according to these results, possibly even lose more fat too!



Frestedt JL, Zenk JL, Kuskowski MA, Ward LS, & Bastian ED. (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism. 5, 8.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cassie is a chemistry major and national level bodybuilder. Questions or comments? Talk to Cassie on the FORUM or on FACEBOOK.

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