Article Title: The Whey to Weight Loss

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Regular readers of my work have come to expect articles about the 
power of whey proteins to potentaily fight cancer and improve 
immunity among its many benefits. The ability of whey to fight 
cancer, improve glutathione levels and immunity, is well 
documented (readers interested in brushing up on the effects of 
whey on cancer, immunity, etc, can read previous articles by me 
at the LEF's web site: www.lef.org and www.BrinkZone.com).

Additional research suggests possible medical uses for whey that 
are quite unexpected and different from whey's traditional role 
as an immune booster and anti cancer functional food. For 
example, whey may be able to reduce stress and lower cortisol and 
increase brain serotonin levels, improve liver function in those 
suffering from certain forms of hepatitis, reduce blood pressure, 
as well as other amazing recent discoveries, such as whey's 
possible effects on weight loss, which is the focus of this 
article.


What Is Whey?

When we talk about whey we are actually referring to a complex 
milk-based ingredient made up of protein, lactose, fat and 
minerals. Protein is the best-known component of whey and is 
made up of many smaller protein subfractions such as: Beta-
lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins (IgGs), 
glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumin (BSA) and minor peptides 
such as lactoperoxidases, lysozyme and lactoferrin.

Each of the subfractions found in whey has its own unique 
biological properties. Modern filtering technology has improved 
dramatically in the past decade, allowing companies to separate 
some of the highly bioactive peptides - such as lactoferrin and 
lactoperoxidase - from whey.

Some of these subfractions are only found in very minute amounts 
in cow's milk, normally at less than one percent (e.g., 
lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, etc.)

The medicinal properties of whey have been known for centuries. 
For example, an expression from Florence, Italy. Circa 1650, was 
"Chi vuol viver sano e lesto beve scotta e cena presto" which 
translates into English as "If you want to live a healthy and 
active life, drink whey and dine early."

Another expression from Italy regarding the benefits of whey 
(circa 1777) was "Allevato con la scotta il dottore e in 
bancarotta." Which translates into English "If everyone were 
raised on whey, doctors would be bankrupt."

Is whey a weight loss functional food?

A few years ago, I might have said no. Now I am not so sure. 
Although there was a smattering of studies suggesting whey had 
certain properties that might assist with weight loss, a number 
of recent studies appear to further support the use of whey as 
a possible weight loss supplement. Most interesting - at least 
to nerds like me - the effect appears to be not by a single 
mechanism, but several. This article will briefly explore a few 
possible pathways by which whey may assist the dieter.


"I'm Hungry!"

Human hunger and appetite are regulated by a phenomenally 
complicated set of overlapping feedback networks, involving a 
long list of hormones, psychological factors as well as 
physiological factors, all of which are still being elucidated. 
It's a very intensive area of research right now, with various 
pharmaceutical companies looking for that "magic bullet" weight 
loss breakthrough they can bring to market.

One hormone getting attention by researchers looking for possible 
solutions to obesity is cholecystokinin (CCK). Several decades 
ago, researchers found CCK largely responsible for the feeling 
of fullness or satiety experienced after a meal and partially 
controls appetite, at least in the short term.

Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a small peptide with multiple functions 
in both the central nervous system and the periphery (via CCK-B 
and CCK-A receptors respectively). Along with other hormones, 
such as pancreatic glucagon, bombesin, glucagon-like peptide-1, 
amide (GLP-1), oxyntomodulin, peptide YY (PYY) and pancreatic 
polypeptide (PP)., CCK is released by ingested food from the 
gastrointestinal tract and mediates satiety after meals.

Such a list would not be complete without at least making mention 
of what many researchers consider the "master hormones" in this 
milieu, which is insulin and leptin. If that's not confusing 
enough, release of these hormones depends on the concentration 
and composition of the nutrients ingested.

That is, the type of nutrients (i.e., fat, protein, and 
carbohydrates) eaten, the amount of each eaten, and composition 
of the meal, all effect which hormones are released and in 
what amounts... Needless to say, it's a topic that gets real 
complicated real fast and the exact roles of all the variables is 
far from fully understood at this time, though huge strides have 
been made recently.


Whey's Effects On Food Intake.

This (finally!) brings us to whey protein. Whey may have some 
unique effects on food intake via its effects on CCK and other 
pathways. Many studies have shown that protein is the most 
satiating macro-nutrient. However, it also appears all proteins 
may not be created equal in this respect.

For example, two studies using human volunteers compared whey vs. 
casein (another milk based protein) on appetite, CCK, and other 
hormones (Hall WL, Millward DJ, Long SJ, Morgan LM.Casein and 
whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, 
gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite. Br J Nutr. 2003 
Feb;89(2):239-48).

The first study found that energy intake from a buffet meal ad 
libitum was significantly less 90 minutes after a liquid meal 
containing whey, compared with an equivalent amount of casein 
given 90 minutes before the volunteers were allowed to eat all 
they wanted (ad libitum) at the buffet. In the second study, the 
same whey preload led to a plasma CCK increase of 60 % ( in 
addition to large increases in glucagon-like peptide [GLP]-1 and 
glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) following the whey 
preload compared with the casein.

Translated, taking whey before people were allowed to eat all 
they wanted (ad libitum) at a buffet showed a decrease in the 
amount of calories they ate as well as substantial increases in 
CCK compared to casein. Subjectively, it was found there was 
greater satiety followed the whey meal also.

The researchers concluded "These results implicate post-
absorptive increases in plasma amino acids together with both 
CCK and GLP-1 as potential mediators of the increased satiety 
response to whey and emphasize the importance of considering the 
impact of protein type on the appetite response to a mixed meal." 
Several animal studies also find whey appears to have a 
pronounced effect on CCK and or satiety over other protein 
sources.

It should be noted however that not all studies have found the 
effect of whey vs. other protein sources on food intake (Bowen J, 
Noakes M, Clifton P, Jenkins A, Batterham M.Acute effect of 
dietary proteins on appetite, energy intake and glycemic response 
in overweight men. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(Suppl):S64.).

It should also be noted that although studies find protein to 
be the most satiating of the macro-nutrients, certain protein 
sources (e.g. egg whites) may actually increase appetite 
(Anderson GH, Tecimer SN, Shah D, Zafar TA. Protein source, 
quantity, and time of consumption determine the effect of 
proteins on short-term food intake in young men. J Nutr. 2004 
Nov;134(11):3011-5.), so protein sources appear worth considering 
when looking to maximize weight loss and suppress appetite.

How whey achieves this effect is not fully understood, but 
research suggests it's due to whey's high glycomacropeptide 
and alpha-lactalbumin content, as well as its high solubility 
compared to other proteins, and perhaps it's high percentage 
of branch chain amino acids (BCAA's).


Whey's Effects On Bodyfat, Insulin Sensitivity, And Fat 
Burning... .

So we have some studies suggesting whey may have some unique 
effects on hormones involved in satiety and or may reduce energy 
(calorie) intake of subsequent meals, but do we have studies 
showing direct effects of whey vs. other proteins on weight loss? 
In animals at least, whey has looked like a promising supplement 
for weight loss.

Although higher protein diets have been found to improve insulin 
sensitivity, and may be superior for weight loss (with some 
debate!) then higher carbohydrate lower protein diets, it's 
unclear if all proteins have the same effects.

One study compared whey to beef (Damien P. Belobrajdic,, Graeme 
H. McIntosh, and Julie A. Owens. A High-Whey-Protein Diet Reduces 
Body Weight Gain and Alters Insulin Sensitivity Relative to Red 
Meat in Wistar Rats. J. Nutr. 134:1454-1458, June 2004) and found 
whey reduced body weight and tissue lipid levels and increased 
insulin sensitivity compared to red meat.

Rats were fed a high-fat diet for nine weeks, then switched to a 
diet containing either whey or beef for an additional six weeks. 
As has generally been found in other studies, the move to a high 
dietary protein reduced energy intake (due to the known satiating 
effects of protein compared to carbs or fat), as well as 
reductions in visceral and subcutaneous bodyfat.

However, the rats getting the whey, there was a 40% reduction in 
plasma insulin concentrations and increased insulin sensitivity 
compared to the red meat. Not surprisingly, the researchers 
concluded "These findings support the conclusions that a high-
protein diet reduces energy intake and adiposity and that whey 
protein is more effective than red meat in reducing body weight 
gain and increasing insulin sensitivity."

Other studies suggest taking whey before a workout is superior 
for preserving/gaining lean body mass (LBM) and maintaining fat 
burning (beta oxidation) during exercise over other foods taken 
prior to a workout. The study called "A preexercise lactalbumin-
enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and 
decreases adiposity in rats" (Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 283: 
E565-E572, 2002.) came to some very interesting conclusions.

One thing we have known a long time is the composition of the 
pre-exercise meal will affect substrate utilization during 
exercise and thus might affect long-term changes in body weight 
and composition. That is, depending on what you eat before you 
workout can dictate what you use for energy (i.e. carbs, fats, 
and or proteins) which alters what you burn (oxidize) for energy.

The researchers took groups of rats and made the poor buggers 
exercise two hours daily for over five weeks (talk about over 
training!), either in the fasted state or one hour after they 
ingested a meal enriched with a simple sugar (glucose), whole 
milk protein or whey protein.

The results were quite telling. Compared with fasting (no food), 
the glucose meal increased glucose oxidation and decreased lipid 
oxidation during and after exercise. Translated, they burned 
sugar over body fat for their energy source. In contrast, the 
whole milk protein and whey meals preserved lipid oxidation 
and increased protein oxidation. Translated, fat burning was 
maintained and they also used protein as a fuel source.

Not surprisingly, the whey meal increased protein oxidation more 
than the whole milk protein meal, most likely due to the fact 
that whey is considered a "fast" protein that is absorbed rapidly 
due to it's high solubility.

As one would expect, by the end of the five weeks, body weight 
was greater in the glucose, whole milk protein and whey fed rats 
than in the fasted ones. No shock there. Here is where it gets 
interesting: In the group getting the glucose or the whole milk 
protein, the increase in weight was from bodyfat, but in the whey 
fed group, the increase in weight was from an increase in muscle 
mass and a decrease in bodyfat!

Only the rats getting the whey before their workout increased 
muscle mass and decreased their bodyfat. The researchers 
theorized this was due to whey's ability to rapidly deliver 
amino acids during exercise. Is this the next big find in sports 
nutrition or those simply looking to preserve muscle mass loss 
due to aging?

Hard to say at this time being it was done in rats, but if it 
turns out to be true in humans (and there is no reason people 
can't try it now) it would indeed be a breakthrough in the quest 
to add muscle and lose fat.


Effects On Serotonin, Blood Sugar Regulation, And More!

Although the above would probably be the major mechanisms by 
which whey could help the dieter, there are several secondary 
effects of whey that may assist in weight loss. For example, 
whey's effects on serotonin levels. Serotonin is probably the 
most studied neurotransmitter since it has been found to be 
involved in a wide range of psychological and biological 
functions. Serotonin ( also called 5-hydroxytryptamine or 
5-HT) is involved with mood, anxiety, and appetite.

Elevated levels of serotonin can cause relaxation and reduced 
anxiety. Low serotonin levels are associated with low mood, 
increased anxiety (hence the current popularity of the SSRI drugs 
such as Prozac and others), and poor appetite control. This is an 
extremely abbreviated description of all the functions serotonin 
performs in the human body - many of which have yet to be fully 
elucidated - but a full explanation is beyond the scope of this 
article.

Needless to say, Increased brain serotonin levels are associated 
with an improved ability of people to cope with stress, whereas a 
decline in serotonin activity is associated with depression and 
anxiety. Elevated levels of serotonin in the body often result in 
the relief of depression, as well as substantial reduction in 
pain sensitivity, anxiety and stress. It has also been theorized 
that a diet-induced increase in tryptophan will increase brain 
serotonin levels, while a diet designed for weight loss (e.g., a 
diet that reduces calories) may lead to a reduction of brain 
serotonin levels due to reduced substrate for production and a 
reduction in carbohydrates.

Many people on a reduced calorie intake in an attempt to lose 
weight find they are often ill tempered and more anxious. 
Reductions in serotonin may be partially to blame here. One 
recent study (The bovine protein alpha-lactalbumin increases 
the plasma ratio of tryptophan to the other large neutral amino 
acids, and in vulnerable subjects raises brain serotonin 
activity, reduces cortisol concentration, and improves mood under 
stress. Am J Clin Nutr 2000 Jun;71(6):1536-1544) examined whether 
alpha-lactalbumin - a major sub fraction found in whey which has 
an especially high tryptophan content - would increase plasma 
Tryptophan levels as well reduce depression and cortisol 
concentrations in subjects under acute stress considered to be 
vulnerable to stress.

The researchers examined twenty-nine "highly stress-vulnerable 
subjects" and 29 "relatively stress-invulnerable" subjects using 
a double blind, placebo-controlled study design. The study 
participants were exposed to experimental stress after eating a 
diet enriched with either alpha-lactalbumin (found in whey) or 
sodium-caseinate, another milk based protein. They researchers 
looked at:

 * Diet-induced changes in the plasma Tryptophan and its ratio 
   to other large neutral amino acids. 

 * Prolactin levels. 

 * Changes in mood and pulse rate. 

 * Cortisol levels (which were assessed before and after the 
   stressor). 


Amazingly, the ratio of plasma Tryptophan to the other amino 
acids tested was 48% higher after the alpha-lactalbumin diet than 
after the casein diet! This was accompanied by a decrease in 
cortisol levels and higher prolactin concentration. Perhaps most 
important and relevant to the average person reading this 
article, they found "reduced depressive feelings" when test 
subjects were put under stress.

They concluded that the "Consumption of a dietary protein 
enriched in tryptophan increased the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and, 
in stress-vulnerable subjects, improved coping ability, probably 
through alterations in brain serotonin." This effect was not seen 
in the sodium-caseinate group. If other studies can confirm these 
findings, whey may turn out to be yet another safe and effective 
supplement in the battle against depression and stress, as well 
as reduced serotonin levels due to dieting.

Although there is a long list of hormones involved in appetite 
regulation, some of which have been mentioned above, serotonin 
appears to be a key player in the game. In general, experiments 
find increased serotonin availability or activity = reduced food 
consumption and decreased serotonin = increase food consumption. 
If whey can selectively increase serotonin levels above that of 
other proteins, it could be very helpful to the dieter.

Other possible advantages whey may confer to the dieter is 
improved blood sugar regulation (Frid AH, Nilsson M, Holst JJ, 
Bjorck IM. Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses 
to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic 
subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):69-75.) which is yet 
another key area in controlling appetite and metabolism.

Finally, calcium from dairy products has been found to be 
associated with a reduction in bodyweight and fat mass. Calcium 
is thought to influence energy metabolism as intracellular 
calcium regulates fat cell (adipocyte) lipid metabolism as well 
as triglyceride storage. It's been demonstrated in several 
studies the superiority of dairy versus non-dairy sources of 
calcium for improving body composition, and the whey fraction 
of dairy maybe the key.

The mechanism responsible for increased fat loss found with 
dairy-based calcium versus nondairy calcium has not is not fully 
understood but researchers looking at the issue theorized "... 
dairy sources of calcium markedly attenuate weight and fat gain 
and accelerate fat loss to a greater degree than do supplemental 
sources of calcium. This augmented effect of dairy products 
relative to supplemental calcium is likely due to additional 
bioactive compounds, including the angiotensin-converting enzyme 
inhibitors and the rich concentration of branched-chain amino 
acids in whey, which act synergistically with calcium to 
attenuate adiposity."

It appears components in whey - some of which have been mentioned 
above - are thought to act synergistically with calcium to 
improve body composition (Zemel MB. Role of calcium and dairy 
products in energy partitioning and weight management. Am J Clin 
Nutr. 2004 May;79(5):907S-912S.).


Conclusion

Taken in isolation, none of these studies are so compelling that 
people should run out and use whey as some form of weight loss 
nirvana. However, taken as a total picture, the bulk of the 
research seems to conclude that whey may in fact have some unique 
effects for weight loss and should be of great use to the dieter. 
More studies are clearly needed however.

So what is the practical application of all this information and 
how does the dieter put it to good use? Being the appetite 
suppressing effects of whey appear to last approximately 2-3 
hours, it would seem best to stagger the intake throughout the 
day. For example, breakfast might be 1-2 scoops of whey and a 
bowl of oatmeal, and perhaps a few scoops of whey taken between 
lunch and dinner.

If whey does what the data suggests it does in the above, that 
should be the most effective method for maximizing the effects of 
whey on food (calorie) intake on subsequent meals as well as the 
other metabolic effects covered. If working out, the schedule may 
be different however and people should follow the pre and post 
nutrition recommendations made in my ebook "Muscle Building 
Nutrition" or advice easily found on the 'net via the many sports 
nutrition and bodybuilding related web sites.

* Ebook can be found at: http://www.musclebuildingnutrition.com 


Additional References Of Interest: 
==================================

Curzon G.Serotonin and appetite.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1990;600:521-
30; discussion 530-1.

Pierson ME, Comstock JM, Simmons RD, Kaiser F, Julien R, Zongrone 
J, Rosamond JD. Synthesis and biological evaluation of potent, 
selective, hexapeptide CCK-A agonist anorectic agents. J Med Chem 
1997 Dec 19;40(26):4302-7

Blundell JE, King NA. Overconsumption as a cause of weight gain: 
behavioural-physiological interactions in the control of food 
intake (appetite). Ciba Found Symp 1996;201:138-54; discussion 
154-8, 188-93

Zittel TT, von Elm B, Teichmann RK, Rabould HE, Becker HD. 
Cholecystokinin is partly responsible for reduced food intake and 
body weight loss after total gastrectomy in rats. Am J Surg 1995 
Feb;169(2):265-70

Smith GP, Gibbs J. Are gut peptides a new class of anorectic 
agents? Am J Clin Nutr 1992 Jan;55(1 Suppl):283S-285S 

Strader AD, Woods SC. Gastrointestinal hormones and food intake. 
Gastroenterology. 2005 Jan;128(1):175-91.

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Article Title:
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The Whey to Weight Loss

Article Description:
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Additional research suggests possible medical uses for whey that 
are quite unexpected and different from whey's traditional role 
as an immune booster and anti cancer functional food.


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The Whey to Weight Loss
Copyright © 2006 Will Brink
The Brink Zone
http://www.brinkzone.com



Regular readers of my work have come to expect articles about the 
power of whey proteins to potentaily fight cancer and improve 
immunity among its many benefits. The ability of whey to fight 
cancer, improve glutathione levels and immunity, is well 
documented (readers interested in brushing up on the effects of 
whey on cancer, immunity, etc, can read previous articles by me 
at the LEF's web site: www.lef.org and www.BrinkZone.com).

Additional research suggests possible medical uses for whey that 
are quite unexpected and different from whey's traditional role 
as an immune booster and anti cancer functional food. For 
example, whey may be able to reduce stress and lower cortisol and 
increase brain serotonin levels, improve liver function in those 
suffering from certain forms of hepatitis, reduce blood pressure, 
as well as other amazing recent discoveries, such as whey's 
possible effects on weight loss, which is the focus of this 
article.


What Is Whey?

When we talk about whey we are actually referring to a complex 
milk-based ingredient made up of protein, lactose, fat and 
minerals. Protein is the best-known component of whey and is 
made up of many smaller protein subfractions such as: Beta-
lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, immunoglobulins (IgGs), 
glycomacropeptides, bovine serum albumin (BSA) and minor peptides 
such as lactoperoxidases, lysozyme and lactoferrin.

Each of the subfractions found in whey has its own unique 
biological properties. Modern filtering technology has improved 
dramatically in the past decade, allowing companies to separate 
some of the highly bioactive peptides - such as lactoferrin and 
lactoperoxidase - from whey.

Some of these subfractions are only found in very minute amounts 
in cow's milk, normally at less than one percent (e.g., 
lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, etc.)

The medicinal properties of whey have been known for centuries. 
For example, an expression from Florence, Italy. Circa 1650, was 
"Chi vuol viver sano e lesto beve scotta e cena presto" which 
translates into English as "If you want to live a healthy and 
active life, drink whey and dine early."

Another expression from Italy regarding the benefits of whey 
(circa 1777) was "Allevato con la scotta il dottore e in 
bancarotta." Which translates into English "If everyone were 
raised on whey, doctors would be bankrupt."

Is whey a weight loss functional food?

A few years ago, I might have said no. Now I am not so sure. 
Although there was a smattering of studies suggesting whey had 
certain properties that might assist with weight loss, a number 
of recent studies appear to further support the use of whey as 
a possible weight loss supplement. Most interesting - at least 
to nerds like me - the effect appears to be not by a single 
mechanism, but several. This article will briefly explore a few 
possible pathways by which whey may assist the dieter.


"I'm Hungry!"

Human hunger and appetite are regulated by a phenomenally 
complicated set of overlapping feedback networks, involving a 
long list of hormones, psychological factors as well as 
physiological factors, all of which are still being elucidated. 
It's a very intensive area of research right now, with various 
pharmaceutical companies looking for that "magic bullet" weight 
loss breakthrough they can bring to market.

One hormone getting attention by researchers looking for possible 
solutions to obesity is cholecystokinin (CCK). Several decades 
ago, researchers found CCK largely responsible for the feeling 
of fullness or satiety experienced after a meal and partially 
controls appetite, at least in the short term.

Cholecystokinin (CCK) is a small peptide with multiple functions 
in both the central nervous system and the periphery (via CCK-B 
and CCK-A receptors respectively). Along with other hormones, 
such as pancreatic glucagon, bombesin, glucagon-like peptide-1, 
amide (GLP-1), oxyntomodulin, peptide YY (PYY) and pancreatic 
polypeptide (PP)., CCK is released by ingested food from the 
gastrointestinal tract and mediates satiety after meals.

Such a list would not be complete without at least making mention 
of what many researchers consider the "master hormones" in this 
milieu, which is insulin and leptin. If that's not confusing 
enough, release of these hormones depends on the concentration 
and composition of the nutrients ingested.

That is, the type of nutrients (i.e., fat, protein, and 
carbohydrates) eaten, the amount of each eaten, and composition 
of the meal, all effect which hormones are released and in 
what amounts... Needless to say, it's a topic that gets real 
complicated real fast and the exact roles of all the variables is 
far from fully understood at this time, though huge strides have 
been made recently.


Whey's Effects On Food Intake.

This (finally!) brings us to whey protein. Whey may have some 
unique effects on food intake via its effects on CCK and other 
pathways. Many studies have shown that protein is the most 
satiating macro-nutrient. However, it also appears all proteins 
may not be created equal in this respect.

For example, two studies using human volunteers compared whey vs. 
casein (another milk based protein) on appetite, CCK, and other 
hormones (Hall WL, Millward DJ, Long SJ, Morgan LM.Casein and 
whey exert different effects on plasma amino acid profiles, 
gastrointestinal hormone secretion and appetite. Br J Nutr. 2003 
Feb;89(2):239-48).

The first study found that energy intake from a buffet meal ad 
libitum was significantly less 90 minutes after a liquid meal 
containing whey, compared with an equivalent amount of casein 
given 90 minutes before the volunteers were allowed to eat all 
they wanted (ad libitum) at the buffet. In the second study, the 
same whey preload led to a plasma CCK increase of 60 % ( in 
addition to large increases in glucagon-like peptide [GLP]-1 and 
glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) following the whey 
preload compared with the casein.

Translated, taking whey before people were allowed to eat all 
they wanted (ad libitum) at a buffet showed a decrease in the 
amount of calories they ate as well as substantial increases in 
CCK compared to casein. Subjectively, it was found there was 
greater satiety followed the whey meal also.

The researchers concluded "These results implicate post-
absorptive increases in plasma amino acids together with both 
CCK and GLP-1 as potential mediators of the increased satiety 
response to whey and emphasize the importance of considering the 
impact of protein type on the appetite response to a mixed meal." 
Several animal studies also find whey appears to have a 
pronounced effect on CCK and or satiety over other protein 
sources.

It should be noted however that not all studies have found the 
effect of whey vs. other protein sources on food intake (Bowen J, 
Noakes M, Clifton P, Jenkins A, Batterham M.Acute effect of 
dietary proteins on appetite, energy intake and glycemic response 
in overweight men. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(Suppl):S64.).

It should also be noted that although studies find protein to 
be the most satiating of the macro-nutrients, certain protein 
sources (e.g. egg whites) may actually increase appetite 
(Anderson GH, Tecimer SN, Shah D, Zafar TA. Protein source, 
quantity, and time of consumption determine the effect of 
proteins on short-term food intake in young men. J Nutr. 2004 
Nov;134(11):3011-5.), so protein sources appear worth considering 
when looking to maximize weight loss and suppress appetite.

How whey achieves this effect is not fully understood, but 
research suggests it's due to whey's high glycomacropeptide 
and alpha-lactalbumin content, as well as its high solubility 
compared to other proteins, and perhaps it's high percentage 
of branch chain amino acids (BCAA's).


Whey's Effects On Bodyfat, Insulin Sensitivity, And Fat 
Burning... .

So we have some studies suggesting whey may have some unique 
effects on hormones involved in satiety and or may reduce energy 
(calorie) intake of subsequent meals, but do we have studies 
showing direct effects of whey vs. other proteins on weight loss? 
In animals at least, whey has looked like a promising supplement 
for weight loss.

Although higher protein diets have been found to improve insulin 
sensitivity, and may be superior for weight loss (with some 
debate!) then higher carbohydrate lower protein diets, it's 
unclear if all proteins have the same effects.

One study compared whey to beef (Damien P. Belobrajdic,, Graeme 
H. McIntosh, and Julie A. Owens. A High-Whey-Protein Diet Reduces 
Body Weight Gain and Alters Insulin Sensitivity Relative to Red 
Meat in Wistar Rats. J. Nutr. 134:1454-1458, June 2004) and found 
whey reduced body weight and tissue lipid levels and increased 
insulin sensitivity compared to red meat.

Rats were fed a high-fat diet for nine weeks, then switched to a 
diet containing either whey or beef for an additional six weeks. 
As has generally been found in other studies, the move to a high 
dietary protein reduced energy intake (due to the known satiating 
effects of protein compared to carbs or fat), as well as 
reductions in visceral and subcutaneous bodyfat.

However, the rats getting the whey, there was a 40% reduction in 
plasma insulin concentrations and increased insulin sensitivity 
compared to the red meat. Not surprisingly, the researchers 
concluded "These findings support the conclusions that a high-
protein diet reduces energy intake and adiposity and that whey 
protein is more effective than red meat in reducing body weight 
gain and increasing insulin sensitivity."

Other studies suggest taking whey before a workout is superior 
for preserving/gaining lean body mass (LBM) and maintaining fat 
burning (beta oxidation) during exercise over other foods taken 
prior to a workout. The study called "A preexercise lactalbumin-
enriched whey protein meal preserves lipid oxidation and 
decreases adiposity in rats" (Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 283: 
E565-E572, 2002.) came to some very interesting conclusions.

One thing we have known a long time is the composition of the 
pre-exercise meal will affect substrate utilization during 
exercise and thus might affect long-term changes in body weight 
and composition. That is, depending on what you eat before you 
workout can dictate what you use for energy (i.e. carbs, fats, 
and or proteins) which alters what you burn (oxidize) for energy.

The researchers took groups of rats and made the poor buggers 
exercise two hours daily for over five weeks (talk about over 
training!), either in the fasted state or one hour after they 
ingested a meal enriched with a simple sugar (glucose), whole 
milk protein or whey protein.

The results were quite telling. Compared with fasting (no food), 
the glucose meal increased glucose oxidation and decreased lipid 
oxidation during and after exercise. Translated, they burned 
sugar over body fat for their energy source. In contrast, the 
whole milk protein and whey meals preserved lipid oxidation 
and increased protein oxidation. Translated, fat burning was 
maintained and they also used protein as a fuel source.

Not surprisingly, the whey meal increased protein oxidation more 
than the whole milk protein meal, most likely due to the fact 
that whey is considered a "fast" protein that is absorbed rapidly 
due to it's high solubility.

As one would expect, by the end of the five weeks, body weight 
was greater in the glucose, whole milk protein and whey fed rats 
than in the fasted ones. No shock there. Here is where it gets 
interesting: In the group getting the glucose or the whole milk 
protein, the increase in weight was from bodyfat, but in the whey 
fed group, the increase in weight was from an increase in muscle 
mass and a decrease in bodyfat!

Only the rats getting the whey before their workout increased 
muscle mass and decreased their bodyfat. The researchers 
theorized this was due to whey's ability to rapidly deliver 
amino acids during exercise. Is this the next big find in sports 
nutrition or those simply looking to preserve muscle mass loss 
due to aging?

Hard to say at this time being it was done in rats, but if it 
turns out to be true in humans (and there is no reason people 
can't try it now) it would indeed be a breakthrough in the quest 
to add muscle and lose fat.


Effects On Serotonin, Blood Sugar Regulation, And More!

Although the above would probably be the major mechanisms by 
which whey could help the dieter, there are several secondary 
effects of whey that may assist in weight loss. For example, 
whey's effects on serotonin levels. Serotonin is probably the 
most studied neurotransmitter since it has been found to be 
involved in a wide range of psychological and biological 
functions. Serotonin ( also called 5-hydroxytryptamine or 
5-HT) is involved with mood, anxiety, and appetite.

Elevated levels of serotonin can cause relaxation and reduced 
anxiety. Low serotonin levels are associated with low mood, 
increased anxiety (hence the current popularity of the SSRI drugs 
such as Prozac and others), and poor appetite control. This is an 
extremely abbreviated description of all the functions serotonin 
performs in the human body - many of which have yet to be fully 
elucidated - but a full explanation is beyond the scope of this 
article.

Needless to say, Increased brain serotonin levels are associated 
with an improved ability of people to cope with stress, whereas a 
decline in serotonin activity is associated with depression and 
anxiety. Elevated levels of serotonin in the body often result in 
the relief of depression, as well as substantial reduction in 
pain sensitivity, anxiety and stress. It has also been theorized 
that a diet-induced increase in tryptophan will increase brain 
serotonin levels, while a diet designed for weight loss (e.g., a 
diet that reduces calories) may lead to a reduction of brain 
serotonin levels due to reduced substrate for production and a 
reduction in carbohydrates.

Many people on a reduced calorie intake in an attempt to lose 
weight find they are often ill tempered and more anxious. 
Reductions in serotonin may be partially to blame here. One 
recent study (The bovine protein alpha-lactalbumin increases 
the plasma ratio of tryptophan to the other large neutral amino 
acids, and in vulnerable subjects raises brain serotonin 
activity, reduces cortisol concentration, and improves mood under 
stress. Am J Clin Nutr 2000 Jun;71(6):1536-1544) examined whether 
alpha-lactalbumin - a major sub fraction found in whey which has 
an especially high tryptophan content - would increase plasma 
Tryptophan levels as well reduce depression and cortisol 
concentrations in subjects under acute stress considered to be 
vulnerable to stress.

The researchers examined twenty-nine "highly stress-vulnerable 
subjects" and 29 "relatively stress-invulnerable" subjects using 
a double blind, placebo-controlled study design. The study 
participants were exposed to experimental stress after eating a 
diet enriched with either alpha-lactalbumin (found in whey) or 
sodium-caseinate, another milk based protein. They researchers 
looked at:

 * Diet-induced changes in the plasma Tryptophan and its ratio 
   to other large neutral amino acids. 

 * Prolactin levels. 

 * Changes in mood and pulse rate. 

 * Cortisol levels (which were assessed before and after the 
   stressor). 


Amazingly, the ratio of plasma Tryptophan to the other amino 
acids tested was 48% higher after the alpha-lactalbumin diet than 
after the casein diet! This was accompanied by a decrease in 
cortisol levels and higher prolactin concentration. Perhaps most 
important and relevant to the average person reading this 
article, they found "reduced depressive feelings" when test 
subjects were put under stress.

They concluded that the "Consumption of a dietary protein 
enriched in tryptophan increased the plasma Trp-LNAA ratio and, 
in stress-vulnerable subjects, improved coping ability, probably 
through alterations in brain serotonin." This effect was not seen 
in the sodium-caseinate group. If other studies can confirm these 
findings, whey may turn out to be yet another safe and effective 
supplement in the battle against depression and stress, as well 
as reduced serotonin levels due to dieting.

Although there is a long list of hormones involved in appetite 
regulation, some of which have been mentioned above, serotonin 
appears to be a key player in the game. In general, experiments 
find increased serotonin availability or activity = reduced food 
consumption and decreased serotonin = increase food consumption. 
If whey can selectively increase serotonin levels above that of 
other proteins, it could be very helpful to the dieter.

Other possible advantages whey may confer to the dieter is 
improved blood sugar regulation (Frid AH, Nilsson M, Holst JJ, 
Bjorck IM. Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses 
to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic 
subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Jul;82(1):69-75.) which is yet 
another key area in controlling appetite and metabolism.

Finally, calcium from dairy products has been found to be 
associated with a reduction in bodyweight and fat mass. Calcium 
is thought to influence energy metabolism as intracellular 
calcium regulates fat cell (adipocyte) lipid metabolism as well 
as triglyceride storage. It's been demonstrated in several 
studies the superiority of dairy versus non-dairy sources of 
calcium for improving body composition, and the whey fraction 
of dairy maybe the key.

The mechanism responsible for increased fat loss found with 
dairy-based calcium versus nondairy calcium has not is not fully 
understood but researchers looking at the issue theorized "... 
dairy sources of calcium markedly attenuate weight and fat gain 
and accelerate fat loss to a greater degree than do supplemental 
sources of calcium. This augmented effect of dairy products 
relative to supplemental calcium is likely due to additional 
bioactive compounds, including the angiotensin-converting enzyme 
inhibitors and the rich concentration of branched-chain amino 
acids in whey, which act synergistically with calcium to 
attenuate adiposity."

It appears components in whey - some of which have been mentioned 
above - are thought to act synergistically with calcium to 
improve body composition (Zemel MB. Role of calcium and dairy 
products in energy partitioning and weight management. Am J Clin 
Nutr. 2004 May;79(5):907S-912S.).


Conclusion

Taken in isolation, none of these studies are so compelling that 
people should run out and use whey as some form of weight loss 
nirvana. However, taken as a total picture, the bulk of the 
research seems to conclude that whey may in fact have some unique 
effects for weight loss and should be of great use to the dieter. 
More studies are clearly needed however.

So what is the practical application of all this information and 
how does the dieter put it to good use? Being the appetite 
suppressing effects of whey appear to last approximately 2-3 
hours, it would seem best to stagger the intake throughout the 
day. For example, breakfast might be 1-2 scoops of whey and a 
bowl of oatmeal, and perhaps a few scoops of whey taken between 
lunch and dinner.

If whey does what the data suggests it does in the above, that 
should be the most effective method for maximizing the effects of 
whey on food (calorie) intake on subsequent meals as well as the 
other metabolic effects covered. If working out, the schedule may 
be different however and people should follow the pre and post 
nutrition recommendations made in my ebook "Muscle Building 
Nutrition" or advice easily found on the 'net via the many sports 
nutrition and bodybuilding related web sites.

* Ebook can be found at: http://www.musclebuildingnutrition.com 


Additional References Of Interest: 
==================================

Curzon G.Serotonin and appetite.Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1990;600:521-
30; discussion 530-1.

Pierson ME, Comstock JM, Simmons RD, Kaiser F, Julien R, Zongrone 
J, Rosamond JD. Synthesis and biological evaluation of potent, 
selective, hexapeptide CCK-A agonist anorectic agents. J Med Chem 
1997 Dec 19;40(26):4302-7

Blundell JE, King NA. Overconsumption as a cause of weight gain: 
behavioural-physiological interactions in the control of food 
intake (appetite). Ciba Found Symp 1996;201:138-54; discussion 
154-8, 188-93

Zittel TT, von Elm B, Teichmann RK, Rabould HE, Becker HD. 
Cholecystokinin is partly responsible for reduced food intake and 
body weight loss after total gastrectomy in rats. Am J Surg 1995 
Feb;169(2):265-70

Smith GP, Gibbs J. Are gut peptides a new class of anorectic 
agents? Am J Clin Nutr 1992 Jan;55(1 Suppl):283S-285S 

Strader AD, Woods SC. Gastrointestinal hormones and food intake. 
Gastroenterology. 2005 Jan;128(1):175-91.





---------------------------------------------------------------------
Will Brink writes for numerous health, fitness, medical, and 
bodybuilding publications. His articles can be found in Life 
Extension Magazine, Muscle n Fitness, Inside Karate, Exercise 
For Men Only, Oxygen, Women's World, The Townsend Letter For 
Doctors and many more. His website is http://www.brinkzone.com

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