12 January - 20 June 2016

Effects of whey protein consumption on body weight and body composition

23 Apr 14

A meta-analysis has shown that whey protein (WP), with or without accompanying resistance exercise, may have a beneficial effect on body weight and healthy body composition. The effects of WP were studied both when consumed in the form of a supplement and as part of the diet.

WP is a highly digestible complete protein containing all essential amino acids found in milk, and is a by-product of cheese production. Previous studies have demonstrated that WP is particularly effective at suppressing appetite and promoting fat mass reduction.

This meta-analysis looked at results from 14 randomised control trials comparing WP to either placebo or a different supplement, with a total of 626 adult participants. Requirements for inclusion in the analysis included that the supplement should be a single component, and that the study should have lasted a minimum of 4 weeks.

The purpose of the analysis was to examine the effect of WP - with and without resistance exercise - on body weight and body composition. The 14 studies were classified into 2 distinct groups, WPR (where WP replaced other calories in the diet) and WPS (where WP was supplemental to normal diet). In the WPR studies an average body weight decrease of 4.2 kg was observed. Where these WPR studies also included resistance exercise, a positive body composition effect was noted in that there was a statistically significant average increase in lean body mass of 2.2 kg.

In general, decreases in body weight were also observed in the WPS studies; however, these did not follow a statistical pattern. Whilst there is clear evidence to support positive effects of WP, other varying factors were present in the trials included in the meta-analysis, and so the authors caution over-interpretation. [Eurekalert]

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