How much do you Whey???

These days, you cannot hear enough about supplements. They are thrown in your face during late-night commercials and offered to you as soon as you step foot in most gyms. Overall, we should all be extremely cautious in introducing a new supplement to our daily regimen, with the exception of one in particular− whey protein. 

Unless you have a medical reason (kidney failure, osteoporosis, etc) to limit your protein intake, whey protein has been shown time and time again to be relatively safe to take and beneficial in improving lean body mass and strength.

The Study

In this study reported in the May 2014 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiologyresearchers assessed the effect of whey protein supplementation on various parameters of body health including, body composition, insulin sensitivity, plasma lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides) and feeling of satiety (hunger). Participants were randomly assigned to 3 different groups

  1. Whey protein supplementation only
  2. Whey protein and resistance training
  3. Whey protein and resistance training, interval training, stretching, yoga, pilates and endurance exercises

The outcomes were then assessed after 16 weeks of treatment. Keep in mind, that this is regardless of calorie restriction or “dieting.”

The Results

All groups lost body weight, fat mass and abdominal fat mass. However, those who only took the whey protein supplement and did not exercise noted minimal benefit. The group that consumed whey protein and performed resistance training exercises noted the next best benefit, while those who consumed whey protein and performed resistance training, interval training, stretching, yoga, pilates and endurance exercises lost the most fat and gained the most lean muscle. As far as insulin resistance, group 2 and group 3 noted a significant improvement. There was no difference in satiety in any group.

Take Home Point

While you shouldn’t necessarily commit to taking whey protein three times per day, it may be considered if you have reached a plateau in weight loss or muscle gain. In addition to this study, others have confirmed the benefits of supplementation in improving lean body mass. As with all supplements, none are FDA-approved and can be risky to take − particularly if you do not choose a reputable brand. Also, you should always check with your doctor to make sure supplementation is safe for you. If so, and you are looking to improve your body composition, give whey protein supplementation a try!

I personally recommend BlueBonnet Whey Protein Isolate, which is available through this affiliate link, or at Whole Foods.