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3 ways Whey protein can help you lose weight
A high protein diet is one of the most prescribed diets for weight loss. A high protein diet consists of consuming 15% or more of the daily calories through proteins (1). Whey protein supplements can help increase protein intake and play an important role in weight loss.
A high protein diet provides necessary energy, increases satiety, maintains muscle mass, and decreases hunger.
Although various food sources can provide protein. But normal dietary food sources also come with unwanted fats and carbohydrates. Given the higher vegetarian population inclusion of other lean protein sources such as chicken and fish are not possible.
One of the most effective ways to achieve high protein consumption is through protein supplements. Various diet restrictions, busy schedules, and a high vegetarian population make whey protein an indispensable part of a high protein diet.
Studies show that a high protein diet containing whey protein in overweight individuals maintained lean mass and decreased body fat (2) (3).
Whey protein is made from milk, it contains all the essential and non-essential amino acids. It also has a very low amount of carbohydrates and lactose (4).
Whey protein is a very convenient source of proteins. It is accessible whether you are at work, traveling, or back from your workout session. A scoop of whey protein can provide up to 30 grams of proteins in a single go, within minutes.
Whey protein provides a feeling of being full and prolongs hunger. This is a direct way whey protein shake can help you avoid eating much.
But there are several other indirect ways through which whey protein can help weight loss. For better results, a high protein diet must be coupled with a good diet and exercise regimen.
3 Indirect ways Whey protein can help lose weight:
Our body has a way of maintaining everything, and it works amazingly well. When we haven’t eaten for a longer time, our body stimulates the release of hunger hormones. These hunger hormones increase appetite and make us consume food, and increase energy intake.
When our tummy is full, our body then releases hormones that reduce hunger and makes us feel full.
Different pathways regulate these hormones. Consumption of different nutrients can also affect the level of these hormones.
Protein is one of such nutrients. Protein decreases the hunger hormones Ghrelin and stimulates appetite-suppressing hormones. This leads to a feeling of satiety and decreased hunger.
Studies show that a high protein breakfast produced satiety and decreased the hunger hormone than a carbohydrate-rich breakfast (5)
Another study conducted on overweight men shows that a high protein diet promoted the feeling of fullness throughout the day and also decreased late-night food cravings(6).
Protein provides a feeling of fullness by suppressing the hunger hormones. A protein shake through its virtue of bulk and decreasing gastric emptying time extends the feeling further.
Increasing metabolic rate:
The metabolic rate of the body is defined as the energy required by the body to carry out normal day-to-day functions. These functions involve blood circulation, breathing, digestion, thinking, and all.
People who need lower energy to carry out body functions have a slower metabolic rate. The body burns less fuel to perform its regular functions. People with a slower metabolic rate tend to gain weight easily.
While people with a higher metabolic rate don’t gain weight easily since their body burns more calories for regular functions. Elevating metabolic rate can help burn fat and lose weight faster (7).
Protein can elevate metabolic rate due to its higher thermic effect. Thermic effects of food mean it requires more energy to digest, absorb, transport, and store food (8).
Protein requires more energy for digestion, absorption, transport, and metabolism than carbohydrates and fats. Proteins require about 15-30% of their total calorie energy for the above functions. Fats have the lowest thermic effect of all requiring about 0-3% energy.
Consuming a higher amount of proteins makes our body burn more calories to digest and absorb the food.
Studies also show that proteins prevent a decrease in energy expenditure even one is not active. Thus maintaining a higher metabolism rate even at resting periods (9).
When coupled with exercise proteins increases metabolic rate leading to a higher loss of calories.
Increasing protein synthesis:
Dietary proteins stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Although up to a certain extent. But when coupled with exercise the stimulation effect is higher. Leucine, which is present in higher concentrations in whey protein is one of the stimulators for muscle protein synthesis (10).
Muscle protein synthesis is an energy-consuming process requiring an expenditure of a considerable amount of energy.
About 4 ATPs are required to add one amino acid.
It is now estimated that the total energy expenditure for protein synthesis, breakdown, and regulation is much higher than previously estimated (11).
Increased muscle protein synthesis can not only burn more fat and consume energy, but it also helps preserve muscle mass.
Various studies also show that a high protein diet in overweight individuals increased fat loss and maintained muscle mass.
A randomized clinical trial conducted in the overweight subjects shows those with a high protein diet lost significantly higher weight and decreased abdominal fat than the subjects with a normal protein diet. The high protein group lost about 7 kg weight and decreased abdominal fat by 13% (12).
Whey protein for women
It is completely fine for women to consume whey protein. Whey protein is suitable for all ages from kids to the elderly, men and women. Also, there is no such thing as whey protein for women. The usual whey protein works the same in men and women for all purposes except bodybuilding.
Although some manufacturers do market their product as for women. They make it appealing with some exotic flavors, added ingredients, different label colors, the shape of the container, and marketing. But the key ingredient remains the same.
Our body treats protein from whey the same way as protein from different food sources (13). Women can consume the usual whey protein without any hesitation.
Side effects of whey protein
There are no side effects of consuming whey protein that one needs to be concerned about. Although it may cause bloating and gas in people with lactose intolerance. The effect of lactose intolerance can be reduced using supplements such as whey isolate or with the consumption of digestive enzymes.
It may also cause acne in some people, however, the occurrence of acne may decrease over time (14).
Whey protein does not cause any harm to the kidney or liver in healthy individuals. Although people with existing kidney or liver conditions should consult their physician before consuming any protein supplements.
A high protein diet can help decrease weight and burn more fat by increasing fullness. It also helps weight loss indirectly by increasing the rate of metabolism, protein synthesis, and moderating hormone associated with hunger and satiety.
Whey protein can help maintain a high protein diet conveniently. Also, Whey protein offers various advantages such as low carbohydrates, fats, higher Leucine content, and full amino acid profile.
Whey Protein Isolate has the lowest amount of carbohydrates, fats. It contains all the essential and non-essential amino acids and provides a high amount of proteins in a relatively smaller serving size. Thus Whey Protein Isolate makes an ideal choice as a protein supplement for a weight loss diet.
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