Whey protein is an excellent resource when it comes to building muscle, but I bet you didn’t know that it can also help you lose weight!
Find out how whey protein can help you control your hunger and reach your goals!
Most people know how important whey protein is when it comes to building muscle, but what they don’t often know is that it’s also really important if you are looking to lose weight too!
This fast-digesting protein is a great choice for a between meal snack as it helps suppress your appetite, despite the fact that liquids (especially whey) digest quickly.
Whey protein has been shown to regulate hunger hormones in your gut, keep the appetite control centre in your brain in check, and to help regulate blood glucose levels.
Let's shed some light (like you’ll be shedding the weight) at how whey protein helps support weight loss.
- Increases Appetite Suppressing Hormones
Whey protein is made up of a number of bioactive compounds, or small molecules that exert powerful effects within your body. Glycomacro protein (GMP) is one of these compounds that may play an important role in suppressing your appetite. Studies have shown GMP to increase cholecystokinin (CCK) which is a hormone secreted in the gut. CCK plays a major part in signalling your brain with satiety signals, telling your brain that you feel full. This can help with portion control, snacking, and overeating.
- Signals Fuel Availability In The Brain
Whey protein contains more leucine (an important branched-chain amino acid) than other protein source. Leucine is well known for its importance in muscle-building, but it’s also thought that leucine may be important for controlling your appetite too.
When you consume whey rich in leucine, leucine acts as a signal to the mTOR complex (the master growth regulator within cells that plays a role in intiating muscle protein synthesis) that your body has fuel available. Once it receives this, the mTOR complex sends a signal to your appetite control centre in your hypothalamus to reduce your appetite, helping you feel full!
- Stabilizes Blood Glucose
Hunger is one of the side effects of low blood-glucose levels. After a meal, particularly high-carb, simple carbohydrate meals, blood glucose levels spike as your body breaks the carbohydrates down into sugars. Then your insulin levels rise to counteract this increase in blood glucose and keep your glucose levels in a normal range. If your glucose levels rise to quickly your body can release to much insulin and cause them to fall again. This instability in blood glucose levels is a perfect opportunity for hunger to take over.
Whey protein can help by promoting steady blood glucose and appetite for hours after you’ve eaten. Whey has a powerful effect on the release of two incretins. Incretins work to improve the insulin response to a meal to make sure your blood glucose is properly controlled.
Rather than a massive rollercoaster ride for your blood glucose levels in terms of dips and spikes, whey helps stabilise your glucose levels. This means you have a steady release of energy from the meal just eaten and your appetite will remain in check until it’s time to eat again, not give you hunger pangs half an hour later!
The Many Wheys To use Whey
If you aren’t a fan of drinking protein shakes, or liquid meals don’t appeal to you, there are other ways you can incorporate whey protein into your diet.
Whey protein can be used to make protein pancakes as part of or instead of standard flour. A popular breakfast option is protein oatmeal, simply add a scoop of protein powder to your cooked oats. Whey is also great mixed into yoghurt or sprinkled into your granola. The options are endless.
Bonus tip for protein shakes: If you are using whey protein for a liquid shake you can try using a blender to crush ice into your shake. The ice makes the shake thicker and helps you to feel fuller.
Written by Gemma