By John Parrillo
Supplementing your diet with whey protein to increase fat loss is an essential strategy, according to research conducted over the past several years. And no wonder. Whey, in particular, is one of the highest quality protein found in protein supplements. It is a component of milk that is separated from milk to make cheese and other dairy products. Whey is also among the most rapidly digested of all supplemental proteins. What this means to you is that the amino acids in whey are rapidly absorbed so that the processes of repair and growth can be accelerated. In addition, whey is loaded with various health-building nutrients, including B-complex vitamins, selenium, calcium, and iodine.
As for whey’s value in fat loss, here is a recap of recent clinical proof. Whey protein:
Increases fat loss while enhancing muscle growth. Researchers at the University of Arkansas studied older obese adults to see which forms of meal replacement would work better for fat loss. One was a protein replacement without essential amino acids. The other was a meal replacement with essential amino acids and whey protein. The replacement with whey protein won hands down. It improved the synthesis of muscle and led to a greater loss of fat. Both groups lost about 7 percent of their total body weight. But the whey group lost a greater percentage of fat to lean tissue. (1)
Reverses weight regain after bariatric surgery. People who have weight-loss surgery tend to regain weight, negating any results from the operation. One way to prevent this is to supplement with whey protein. Researchers organized women (average age 45) into one of two groups: supplementation with whey protein, or no supplementation, and studied them for 16 weeks. The group that supplemented with whey protein was able to lose the weight and fat pounds they had gained after surgery, while weight loss in the non-supplemented group was negligible. (2)
Positively alters body composition. U.S. Army soldiers who supplemented with whey protein for 8 weeks, compared to soldiers who took a carb supplement, had a significant decrease in fat mass – plus an increase in physical performance (they were able to do more push-ups than the carb supplementers). Basically, the carb supplement had little effect on fat loss or performance. (3)
Is superior to collagen for fat loss. Collagen protein is a trendy supplement right now, but how does it stack up to whey as a fat-burner? Scientists answered this question by studying 37 overweight women, who took either whey protein or collagen for 8 weeks as an afternoon snack. At the end of the experimental period and again after an 8-week follow up, the whey supplementers lost fat, and much of it was from their upper bodies. Collagen supplementation did not have the same effect.
Worth emphasizing is that this study shed light on why whey is such an effective fat-burner. It increases a protein-like molecule in the brain called nesfatin. It contributes to diminished hunger, a sense of fullness’ and a loss of body fat and weight. The researchers noted too: “Additionally, our findings suggest that collagen may not be an effective supplement for overweight women who are attempting to alter body composition.” (4)
I’m scratching the surface of why whey is a clinically proven fat burner, but you get the point. It works to help you get and stay lean. Now the question is: How and when to use it?
First of all, we have several types of whey protein powders: Optimized Whey Protein™, Hi-Protein Powder™, and 50/50 Plus Powder™. These can be used at various times.
When you wake up, you’re automatically in a state of catabolism (breakdown). To stop any possible assault on your muscles, why not slam down a protein shake? Make sure it’s one of our whey-formulated powders (again: Optimized Whey Protein™, Hi-Protein Powder™, or 50/50 Plus Powder™). Whey is fast-digesting, meaning that you’ll get mass-protective amino acids into your bloodstream quickly. Also, a whey shake makes a quick-fix breakfast when you’re short on time in the morning.
Having a protein shake within 30 minutes of training is a great strategy, especially a whey-formulated powder. Again, that’s because it’s fast-digesting and helps increase blood flow to your muscles for better energy.
If you’re working out for more than 45 to 60 minutes, sip a drink containing whey, too. Whey is loaded with branched-chain amino acids. BCAAs can be very helpful during this time to promote muscle growth and repair. It’s almost as if you’re recovering while you’re working out! A good option is Parrillo Optimized Whey Protein Powder™. It contains 33 grams of protein in each two-scoop (40 g) serving. Slowly sip this drink every 10 minutes during exercise.
Within 30 to 45 minutes after training, you have a window of opportunity to recover. That’s when you need a liquid carb/protein mixture, such as Parrillo 50-50 Plus™. Post-workout is when insulin sensitivity is the greatest and you can drive most of your glucose and amino acids into your muscle cells.
After reading this, you’re probably wondering if you should subsist on whey protein shakes. Absolutely not. Still, the majority of the protein you eat each day should consist of food proteins from egg whites, white meat poultry, and fish. You need 1.5 grams of protein per bodyweight each day. Protein shakes can help you reach this goal. Our suggested usage for each product is (2 scoops mixed with 8 ounces or ¼ liter of water or beverage) taken as needed.
If you’re going to take in a lot of whey shakes daily, you’ll want to choose flavors you like. Fortunately, our products come in many different flavors, depending on the powder: chocolate, chocolate malt, vanilla, vanilla malt, strawberry, banana, peach, orange cream, even milk-flavor.
A couple of other taste tips: You don’t always have to use our whey powders in blended drinks. Try blending a scoop of protein powder in your morning oatmeal, for example. This jumpstarts your day with protein.
For blended shakes, toss together a bunch of healthy ingredients, such as fibrous leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce into the blender with the protein powder and water. This is fantastic way to punch up the nutrient density of your drink and increasing your veggie intake. One or two handfuls of greens will do the trick; they taste great with any of our vanilla-flavored protein powders.
Remember: Whey is a supplemental protein – and that means they supplement a whole-foods diet as outlined in the Parrillo Nutrition Program.
1. Coker, R.H., et al. 2012. Whey protein and essential amino acids promote the reduction of adipose tissue and increased muscle protein synthesis during caloric restriction-induced weight loss in elderly, obese individuals. Nutrition Journal 11: 105.
2. Lopes, G.D., et al. 2017. Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Body Fat and Weight Loss in Women Long After Bariatric Surgery: a Randomized Controlled Trial. Obesity Surgery 27: 424-431.
3. McAdam, J.S., et al. 2018. Effect of Whey Protein Supplementation on Physical Performance and Body Composition in Army Initial Entry Training Soldiers. Nutrients 10: E1248.
4. Giglio, B.M., et al. 2019. Whey Protein Supplementation Compared to Collagen Increases Blood Nesfatin Concentrations and Decreases Android Fat in Overweight Women: A Randomized Double-Blind Study. Nutrients 11: E2051.