Whey protein supplementation preserves postprandial myofibrillar protein synthesis during short-term energy restriction in overweight and obese adults

New research, published on February 1, 2015, in the Journal of Nutrition, was conducted to examine the benefits of whey protein on muscle during a period of weight loss. Reductions in lean muscle mass are often seen during weight loss due to decreased muscle protein synthesis. Studies have shown that consumption of higher protein diets improve retention of muscle mass and increase loss of fat mass during energy restriction. It was thought that since whey protein has shown benefits for increasing muscle synthesis, that whey protein supplementation during dieting would help maintain this muscle protein synthesis response, and may be a potential strategy for maintaining muscle during longer term weight loss periods.

To demonstrate this concept, men and women decreased caloric intake by about 750 calories per day for two weeks, and supplemented with either 50 grams per day of whey protein, soy, or a carbohydrate control condition. Whey protein intake showed to preserve the synthesis of muscle fibers in a greater level (-9%) than the intake of soy protein (-28%) or carbohydrate (-31%) during the weight loss intervention. These findings suggest that increasing whey protein intake could have the potential to not only help lose body fat but also to maintain muscle mass in longer-term weight loss interventions.

The published paper can be accessed here, Journal of Nutrition.


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