Research suggests that whey may help curb obesity and diabetes

PHILADELPHIA New research presented Tuesday at the American Dietetic Association Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo suggests that dairy proteins, especially whey, excel in building muscle and reducing fat, which may help control body weight and curb obesity, hypertension and diabetes.

Whey is a high-quality protein isolated during cheese making, and is already a popular ingredient in foods like yogurt, energy bars and ready-to-drink beverages.

In his presentation, Stuart Phillips, associate professor of kinesiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, elaborated on recently published findings regarding protein consumption and body composition. “Our research demonstrated that milk proteins are more effective than soy in building muscle and reducing fat, when consumed after regular resistance exercise,” Phillips said. “In additional research, whey-protein consumption appears to have a similar effect even in the absence of exercise or diet.”

“Whey protein has tremendous potential as a functional-food component for maintaining a healthy weight,” stated Harvey Anderson, professor of nutrition sciences, physiology and medical sciences at the University of Toronto. “Research shows that whey helps the body feel full and satisfied; therefore, it may assist in body weight management, obesity and related conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and more.”

While the mechanisms of action are not fully understood, whey protein has a positive effect on insulin and cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as a positive and prolonged effect on satiation and satiety. In the presentation, Anderson called for additional research to whey’s potential benefit as a functional-food component, assisting in the management of obesity and related conditions.

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