Saturday, December 13, 2014

Timed Ingestion of 3x21g of Whey Protein + Exercise Sheds 14% Abdominal Fat in Overweight Subjects Within 4 Months

Minimal effort, minimal results - While you can lose weight by just adding whey protein to your diet, your success will more than double, when you're willing to work (out) for it four times a week!
It's not a secret that things that diet and exercise are the keys to weight control and health in the 21st century. If you skip only one of the two you can hardly expect optimal results. In that, it is often said that weight, or rather fat loss requires a significant reduction of one's total energy intake; and for athletes and already lean individuals, this may in fact be the case. For the average "free-living overweight or obese" individual, however, the dietary changes that are required can be as simple as adding three servings of 21g of whey protein to their regimen on a daily basis (the scientists found no overall increase in energy intake, this means the 252 extra kcal/day from whey were effectively compensated for by the overweight subjects of the study at hand.
You can learn more about protein intake at the SuppVersity

Protein Timing DOES Matter!

5x More Than the FDA Allows!

Protein requ. of athletes

High EAA protein for fat loss

Fast vs. slow protein

Less Fat, More Muscle!
Before you go ahead and buy a bag of whey from the next best Internet supplement vendor, though, I have to tell you that why alone may have some beneficial effects. Without regular exercise, however, you are not going to shed those ~10% abdominal fat, the subjects in the PRISE, i.e. protein, resistance exercise, interval sprint exercise, stretching/yoga/ Pilates, and endurance exercise, group saw over the course of the 16-week study period.
Table 1: Overview of the exercise program in the PRT and the PRISE group (Arciero. 2014)
ASs you can see in Table 1, the subjects trained four times a week. They did so at different rates of perceived effort (RPE) and they performed
  • upper-body resistance exercise (UB) for the chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and back,
  • lower-body resistance exercise (LB) for the quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and abdomen, 
  • sprint interval training, and endurance training (type C) like walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, elliptical, rowing, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, etc. and
  • supervised stretching, yoga and pilates workouts (in the PRISE group, only, where
    the four types of exercise were cycled on a weekly basis, such that participants performed each of the four exercises, 1 day/wk for a total of four exercise sessions/wk)
and one session (X), where they were free to chose whatever they wanted to do (i.e. resistance training, conditioning exercises, etc.).
All that without dietary intervention!? It sounds hard to believe that simply adding whey protein to the diet of 79 overweight / obese subjects would have such a profound impact on their body composition, but the scientists did in fact prescribe nothing else than the timed ingestion of 23g of whey protein (1) within 1 h of waking in the morning, (2) mid-afternoon or within 30 min following an exercise session and (3) withing 2 h of going to bed at night (total protein intake ended up at ~1.3-1.5g per kg body weight). Otherwise, all participants were instructed to consume their habitual diet ad libitum throughout the 16-wk intervention.
Only the increase in protein was stat. sign. across all groups (Arciero. 2014)
In the introduction I did yet already hint at the fact that the addition of 252kcal/day from the whey protein did not increase the subjects overall dietary intake (~2,000kcal/day). Against that background it's obvious that the provision of extra whey protein induced voluntary changes in the macronutrient composition of the diet that reached statistical significance for protein (+6%, +9% and +6% in the protein, protein + resistance training and PRISE group, respectively). For fat and carbohydrates the dietary changes were too different from subject to subject (meaning some reduced fat, others carbs) to reach statistical significance - which obviously does not mean that they were not reduced!
During all sessions, the subjects use medicine balls, physioballs, rubber tubes, and bands, which were incorporated into a dynamic warm-up, footwork and agility drills, resistance and power movements, and core and body weight exercises (e.g., lunges, squats, and jumping rope).
Figure 1: Relative changes in body mass, fat mass (subcutanous, visceral and in the abdominal region) and waist circumference over the course of the 4 months study (Arciero. 2014).
If you think that's more than you can handle, you better take another look at the results in Figure 1. Are you really sure you don't have the guts (don't tell me you don't have the time, if you have time to watch TV and lie around lazily on your sofa) to work out on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday?
I must say that the changes in lean mass are disappointing. Maybe a focus on higher intensity resistance training would have helped build the usually relatively muscled (from carrying an obese body) legs of the overweight / obese participants.
Bottom line: You can argue simply having that extra whey is also going to help you lose body fat, but compared to the "PRISE"-less combination of protein and resistance exercise, intervals, stretching/yoga/ Pilates, endurance exercise the fat loss from whey alone is not exactly impressive. Ok, it's impressive that simply adding three servings of whey do trigger reductions in body fat, but adding 4 workouts of which only the sprint interval workouts reach a maximal intensity of 10 on the RPE scale for only 30s (!) is what makes the difference between statistically significance, and mirror and "man, you've slimmed down"-comment significance ;-)

Needless to say, though, that completely turning your diet upside down and making exercise an integral part of your everyday life are more promising strategies to lose weight and stave it off than any of the interventions in the study at hand | Comment on Facebook!
  • Arciero, Paul J., et al. "Timed-daily Ingestion of Whey Protein and Exercise Training Reduces Visceral Adipose Tissue Mass and Improves Insulin Resistance: The PRISE Study." Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md.: 1985) (2014).