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The current body of literature supports the use of whey protein, either as a supplement combined with resistance exercise or as part of a weight loss or weight maintenance diet, to improve body composition parameters, according to new research published in the March/April 2014 Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
The objective of the meta-analysis was to examine the effect of whey protein, with or without resistance exercise, on body weight and body composition in randomized controlled trials conducted in generally healthy adult study populations.
A comprehensive literature search was conducted to identify randomized controlled trials that investigated whey protein (concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate) and body weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat, lean body mass, fat-free mass, and waist circumference.
Studies were classified into two distinct groups: whey protein as a supplement without dietary modification (WPS) and whey protein as a replacement for other sources of calories (WPR), and were metaanalyzed separately.
Fourteen randomized controlled trials were included, with a total of 626 adult study completers.
Five studies examined the effects of WPR and the remaining nine studies examined the effects of WPS.
When researchers analyzed those weight loss studies that used whey protein to replace calories in the diet, participants had a decrease in body weight of 4.2 kilograms (9.2 pounds), on average, compared to baseline values with whey protein intake.
Also, after analyzing muscle protein synthesis studies that included resistance exercise along with whey provisions, researchers found that participants had a statistically significant increase in lean body mass of 2.24 kilograms (4.9 pounds), on average, whey whey protein was used in conjunction with resistance exercise.
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