Fact or Myth: Can Whey Protein Help You Lose Weight?

This is FACT.

When it comes to protein, whey protein has the highest biological value of all…and the most amino acids…and the body easily absorbs it. Research has shown that a diet abundant in protein may help with weight loss. Swedish researchers published findings in the American Journal of Physiology that showed that eating a high quality protein diet could double the amount of fat your body burns. For six days, participants ate a similar-calorie diet made up of either 8% protein or 21% protein. Those eating 21% protein a day burned two times as much fat, and when exercise was thrown into the mix they burned through 18% more!

Why does eating protein ramp up your caloric output? Because 1 gram of protein contains 4 calories, but your body must expend 6 calories to digest it! This means that through digestion alone, protein burns 50% more calories.

Studies have shown that eating protein helps to:

  • Accelerate metabolic processes
  • Build lean muscle mass
  • Help the body burn fat faster
  • Help you feel full
  • Increase appetite-suppressing hormones
  • Decrease appetite-stimulating hormones, like ghrelin

But you don’t want to eat too much protein, even if weight loss is your goal. Studies also indicate that eating too much protein can leave you vulnerable to cancer by activating the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) mechanism.

Whey for Weight Loss whey protein powder

Research reports that whey protein can help strengthen immunity, preserve lean body tissue, maintain normal blood pressure levels, and promote healthy heart function. It also contains all the amino acids needed to boost your body’s production of the master antioxidant glutathione, ensuring protection against free radical damage.

Whey owes its weight-loss enhancing properties to two constituents: leucine and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Leucine encourages weight loss by activating the mTOR mechanism and protein synthesis, which help to stimulate muscle growth. But in order to achieve this effect, you’d need to eat a ton of leucine…unless you get it from whey. Whey protein has about 8 grams of leucine, a significant amount. To get that same amount of leucine, you’d need to eat 1.5 pounds of chicken!

CLA is one of the most popular weight loss supplements. This healthy omega-6 essential fatty acid helps to keep you feeling full, thereby reducing the amount of food you eat, helps to increase fat burning, helps to break down body fat, and helps to suppress the production of body fat while keeping lean muscle mass maintained. However, it’s important to source CLA from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows, because CLA from cows fed an unnatural grain-based diet is 300-500% less than CLA from cows raised on a natural diet of grass.

Choosing Your Whey Protein

Add in whey protein to your daily green smoothie, but make sure it’s whey from organically raised pastured cows. The molecular structure of whey disintegrates in heat, so look for cold pressed processed, naturally sweetened whey made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs) that are much easier to digest than long-chain fatty acids.