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Whey Protein May Help With Weight Loss

A new study by scientists from the US Department of Agriculture suggests that whey protein may lead to incremental but significant loss in body fat. The study also showed that soy protein does not have the same effect.

The results were published online ahead of print in the Journal of Nutrition on June 15, 2011.

Participants in the study included 73 obese or overweight adults. The scientists split them into three groups: one receiving beverage consisting of 28 g soy and carbohydrate, one receiving a beverage consisting of 28 g whey protein and carbohydrate, and one receiving a carbohydrate only beverage. All of the beverages contained 200 calories, and the protein beverages included 28 grams of protein. All of the groups were instructed to consume their beverage twice daily and did not alter their diet.

After 23 weeks, the whey protein group was on average 4 pounds lighter than the carbohydrate group and showed 5 pounds less body fat. They also had a one inch waist reduction when compared to the other two groups.

Scientists believe that these weight loss results were achieved because whey protein reduces ghrelin, the hormone that lets the brain know that it is hungry.

Whey protein is one of the two proteins found in milk, but it is only about 1% of the composition of milk. It is obtained as a byproduct of cheese making and can be purchased in powder forms from health food stores. Additionally, it can be found in ricotta cheese, which is one of the only cheeses that do not have the whey removed.

When shopping for a whey protein, pay attention to the source of the milk, the production method, manufacturer specifications, and any added ingredients.

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