Protein supplementation is beneficial for gaining muscle mass when consumed following exercise, but new research indicates that whey protein can actually enhance fat loss.
In fact, it has been reported that whey protein can help reduce belly fat more so than other protein sources due to its high-branch-chain amino acids (BCAA’s).
Whey protein (100 grams) contains about 24 grams of BCAA’s, which has been associated with improved insulin sensitivity and satiety (fullness), so it helps regulate blood glucose levels and reduce the risk of diabetes while also reducing hunger signals and caloric intake.
Whey protein also modulates several hormones that are important to weight loss and healthy weight management (thyroid hormone, cortisol, insulin, ghrelin).
Recent studies have shown that consuming whey protein isolate (60 grams per day) evaluated over six months resulted in significantly lower hyperinsulinemia (less fat storage potential), lower cortisol levels (less inflammation and more lean muscle preservation), and increased ghrelin release (satiety enhancement).
Balancing the “weight loss” hormones promotes fat reduction and whey protein is very effective in balancing those important regulatory hormones.
A study in Nutrition & Metabolism reported that participants on whey protein supplementation lost more weight than the control group, in conjunction with a low-calorie diet, primarily the result of losing body fat (6.1% reduction).
Since whey protein is nutrient-dense but lower in energy (4 calories/gram), it may be the perfect fat-loss supplement for weight reduction while preserving lean muscle mass.