As the dietitian who works with sports teams here at Missouri State, I see lots of athletes who want to build muscle and lose body fat. New research supports using whey protein to meet these goals.
According to a recent meta-analysis study, dairy foods (which contain whey protein) may be key. Not only does research show whey can help athletes, it may also be useful for others who are exercising and want to change body composition (lose fat, gain muscle). Protein has an important role in building and maintaining muscle, maintaining weight, and healthy aging. Whey is a high-quality protein which contains all the essential amino acids.
Here are the key findings of the research analysis:
• Consuming whey protein, in combination with resistance training aids in increasing muscle mass in adults, average 4.9 pounds.
• When using whey protein as a dietary replacement, weight and body fat both decreased in study subjects, average 8-9 pounds lost.
• Consuming higher protein meals may lead to eating fewer calories throughout the day (remember, protein “fills you up” and provides satiety).
• For those on a low calorie diet, remember to get adequate amounts of protein to preserve muscle mass.
• Keep in mind, the key to any weight management program is balance, variety and moderation. You want carbohydrates, protein and some fat at each meal.
The bottom line….
Research is promising for whey protein to help build muscle and aid in weight management. It is not necessary to get the whey from a supplement or protein powder.
Instead, since whey protein is found naturally in dairy foods, adding milk to your diet appears to be beneficial in several ways. Our athletes at MSU drink milk after lifting weights. Not only are they consuming whey protein, but also calcium, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients. It’s a winning combination!