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Study: Whey Protein May Help Promote Weight Loss

Last week in the media, a popular doctor stated that whey protein could help reduce fat in your gluteous maximus (buttocks). Rather, what clinical studies show is that whey may provide valuable assistance for those seeking to lose weight in at least three distinct ways:

  1. Helping to limit caloric intake. A couple studies indicate that whey consumption promotes feelings of satisfaction and fullness that lead to reduced appetite and decreased food intake. The mechanism of action is a combination of the increases in plasma amino acids together with both cholecystokinin and glucagon-like peptide 1 – two hormones associated with satiety – in response to whey consumption
  2. Blood sugar regulation. Whey may also help controlling appetite and metabolism through its ability to improve blood sugar regulation, a key area in weight loss.
  3. As a dairy calcium source. Finally, calcium from dairy products has been associated with a reduction in bodyweight and fat mass. Calcium influences energy metabolism through its role as an intracellular regulator of adipocytes (fat cells), lipid metabolism and triglyceride storage. The superiority of dairy versus non-dairy sources of calcium for improving body composition has been demonstrated in several studies and the whey fraction appears to be the key

Interestingly, here again not all proteins are created equal. If studies find protein to be the most satiating of the macro-nutrients, certain protein sources such as egg whites – so popular amongst bodybuilders! – may actually increase appetite.


Hall WL, Millward DJ, Long SJ, Morgan LM. 2003 – Casein and whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite. Br Nutr. Feb;89(2):239-48.

Frid AH, Nilsson M, Holst JJ, Bjorck IM. 2005 – Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):69-75.

Zemel MB. 2004 – Role of calcium and dairy products in energy partitioning and weight management. Am J Clin Nutr. May;79(5):907S-912S.

Anderson GH, Tecimer SN, Shah D, Zafar TA. 2005 – Protein source, quantity, and time of consumption determine the effect of proteins on short-term food intake in young men. J Nutr. 2004 Nov;134(11):3011-5.)

Chantal Ann Dumas, ND

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