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Nutr J. 2004 Dec 8;3:22.

Soy versus whey protein bars: effects on exercise training impact on lean body mass and antioxidant status.

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Department of Sport & Exercise Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.



Although soy protein may have many health benefits derived from its associated antioxidants, many male exercisers avoid soy protein. This is due partly to a popular, but untested notion that in males, soy is inferior to whey in promoting muscle weight gain. This study provided a direct comparison between a soy product and a whey product.


Lean body mass gain was examined in males from a university weight training class given daily servings of micronutrient-fortified protein bars containing soy or whey protein (33 g protein/day, 9 weeks, n = 9 for each protein treatment group). Training used workouts with fairly low repetition numbers per set. A control group from the class (N = 9) did the training, but did not consume either type protein bar.


Both the soy and whey treatment groups showed a gain in lean body mass, but the training-only group did not. The whey and training only groups, but not the soy group, showed a potentially deleterious post-training effect on two antioxidant-related related parameters.


Soy and whey protein bar products both promoted exercise training-induced lean body mass gain, but the soy had the added benefit of preserving two aspects of antioxidant function.

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