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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Apr;18(4):704-11. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.300. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

Dairy protein attenuates weight gain in obese rats better than whey or casein alone.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Evidence suggests that dietary calcium (Ca) and particularly dairy foods may attenuate weight gain and improve symptoms of the metabolic syndrome. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of different Ca-enriched dairy protein sources on the prevention of weight gain in Sprague-Dawley diet-induced obese (DIO) rats. Twelve week-old DIO rats were assigned to one of eight ad libitum diets that varied in protein source (casein, whey, or complete dairy), Ca content (0.67 or 2.4%) and energy level (high fat/high sucrose (HFHS); or normal calorie density (NC)). Body composition and response to a meal tolerance test (MTT) were measured. Average daily caloric intake did not differ within normal or high energy density groups. At the end of 8 weeks, the dairy/HFHS/0.67% and 2.4% groups had significantly lower body weight than all other HFHS groups. The dairy/HFHS/0.67% and 2.4% groups also had lower body fat and greater lean mass expressed as a percent (P < 0.05). Homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA(IR)) was lowest for dairy/HFHS/0.67% and significantly different from whey/HFHS/0.67% and 2.4%. Independent of protein source, high Ca decreased plasma insulin at 30 min in the MTT more so than low Ca (P < 0.05). Hepatic sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP1c) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) mRNA was downregulated by dairy and whey compared to casein in the HFHS/0.67% diets. Overall, these data suggest that complete dairy improves body composition and insulin sensitivity to a greater extent than whey or casein alone.

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