Whey protein improves energy balance and metabolism

(Todd Allen) #1

I found this interesting despite it being a rat study, though my enthusiasm was diminished when I got to the acknowledgements section and read who funded the study.

Whey Protein Components - Lactalbumin and Lactoferrin - Improve Energy Balance and Metabolism.
Zapata RC, Singh A, Pezeshki A, Nibber T, Chelikani PK.
Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 30;7(1):9917. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-09781-2.
PMID: 28855697 Free PMC Article
Whey protein promotes weight loss and improves diabetic control, however, less is known of its bioactive components that produce such benefits. We compared the effects of normal protein (control) diet with high protein diets containing whey, or its fractions lactalbumin and lactoferrin, on energy balance and metabolism. Diet-induced obese rats were randomized to isocaloric diets: Control, Whey, Lactalbumin, Lactoferrin, or pair-fed to lactoferrin. Whey and lactalbumin produced transient hypophagia, whereas lactoferrin caused prolonged hypophagia; the hypophagia was likely due to decreased preference. Lactalbumin decreased weight and fat gain. Notably, lactoferrin produced sustained weight and fat loss, and attenuated the reduction in energy expenditure associated with calorie restriction. Lactalbumin and lactoferrin decreased plasma leptin and insulin, and lactalbumin increased peptide YY. Whey, lactalbumin and lactoferrin improved glucose clearance partly through differential upregulation of glucoregulatory transcripts in the liver and skeletal muscle. Interestingly, lactalbumin and lactoferrin decreased hepatic lipidosis partly through downregulation of lipogenic and/or upregulation of β-oxidation transcripts, and differentially modulated cecal bacterial populations. Our findings demonstrate that protein quantity and quality are important for improving energy balance. Dietary lactalbumin and lactoferrin improved energy balance and metabolism, and decreased adiposity, with the effects of lactoferrin being partly independent of caloric intake.

(Allie) #2

Rodent studies are never really relevant regardless.

(Dread) #3

Kinda makes me crazy! Let’s feed these rodents things they’d never eat in the wild and then make assumptions about humans…

(Doug) #4

Todd, indeed it’s interesting. That different types of protein could make a difference, here, is another piece of the puzzle, a piece which apparently breaks into its own little complexity of sub-pieces, versus, say, just the one ‘macro’ protein number we sometimes think about.

Sweet! :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t know what to think - sometimes, rat or mice studies do have good predictive value for effects on humans, and sometimes not. Do I need to watch the movies ‘Willard’ and ‘Ben’ again?

While not the most rigorous scientific treatise, the rats did seem to put a scare into Ernest Borgnine.

(Linda Culbreth) #5

Whey is an insulinemic - makes more insulin. If you are a T2D, that is not what you want. You are already making way too much insulin. Here’s some of the proof - there is more out there. http://thepaleodiet.com/whey-protein-and-its-effect-on-insulin/

(Todd Allen) #6

Insulin is not our enemy but an important lever that can be moved both up and down in pursuit of goals.

I think I am/was a type 2 diabetic though I was never diagnosed or treated as such. After a year of eating keto my fasting blood sugar is usually good, 60-100 mg/dl, though once in a while pops as high as 120 mg/dl for a day or two.

I’ve been experimenting with/using whey protein as a tool in combination with other factors for the goal of stimulating muscle growth as I have a genetic progressive muscle wasting disease that is supposedly untreatable though I’ve been having significant success recently improving body composition.

For example, I will fast for a few days driving glucose fairly low (and insulin) and get ketones fairly high. Throughout the fast I engage in physical activity to keep glycogen stores low. After I get beta hydroxybutyrate high, 6+ mmol/l, I’ll take heavy doses of nicotinic acid to suppress free fatty acids and in the evening engage in intense resistance training to deep total body failure, followed by an extremely hot bath raising my body temp to roughly 106F, then take whey protein concentrate spiked with additional BCAAs plus arginine (blocks somatostatin) and glutamine (promotes GH) seeking a strong insulin response to induce hypoglycemia and in combination with the other stresses produce a strong growth hormone response as I go to sleep. Hypoglycemia suppresses insulin so the whey only gets one so far, 40 mg/dl is the lowest I’ve managed to go and I’m now beginning to test with drugs for diabetics that boost insulin and enhance sensitivity.

(Linda Culbreth) #7

Todd, I would say you have a very unusual situation. No, insulin is not an enemy - but insulin resistance is!

If you had no or very low insulin levels, you would be a type 1 diabetic, and possibly very, very thin. And be on insulin (more than likely shots) just to live.

As a T2D, I must get and keep the insulin levels down to minimize insulin resistance. And, if my bg went to 40, somebody would be picking me up from the floor. A fear most folks with T2D who have been treated with standard medical care will probably say is if their bg goes down too low at night, they may not wake up.

Keep us posted on what works for you and what your goals are.


I have moved away from whey, using hemp powder now for smoothies. Because of the insulin. DH is T2D controlled through diet and exercise so far. I have some IR and am trying to heal that with this WOE and fasting.

(Todd Allen) #9

18 months ago I expect I had pretty severe insulin resistance. When I ate high carb (trying to be healthy) my energy levels swung wildly and I frequently was stressed and panic prone when I couldn’t get a quick fix from whole wheat bread, raisins, orange juice and other things on which I had increasing dependence. I suspect my blood glucose was spiking and crashing frequently though I didn’t really understand it at the time and didn’t monitor it until after going LCHF for a few months and the energy swings and hunger had abated. And then I saw the long spikes from things like mangoes, sweet potato and quinoa so I went keto.

Since stopping HCLF I’ve not experienced symptoms one might associate with low blood glucose despite my recent best efforts at hypoglycemia, though I’ve only done it when ketones are high. I don’t have a continuous glucose monitor so I don’t actually know what happens while I sleep and only get a reading if I wake up in the middle of the night to pee or when I get up in the morning. I have worn a heart rate variability monitor that logs to my phone while sleeping and it has not shown anything alarming.

A couple months ago a study was published on correlation between IR and the severity and rate of progression of my disease. Prior to the dietary changes my deterioration was brutal and now I’m recovering so I’m guessing my IR is much lower. My fasting blood glucose has been steadily dropping and I’ve been able to eat increasing amounts of low glycemic carbs without raising blood glucose significantly. I’ve an appointment to get some extensive blood work done next month which I hope will confirm it.

I can’t say with certainty, but my impression, at least for myself, is that using whey protein to break a fast doesn’t aggravate insulin resistance, probably because the insulin response is muted by hypoglycemia.