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Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Aug;106(2):684-697. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.129528. Epub 2017 Jul 5.

Protein supplements after weight loss do not improve weight maintenance compared with recommended dietary protein intake despite beneficial effects on appetite sensation and energy expenditure: a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial.

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Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, and
Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, and.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Section of Metabolic Genetics, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Denmark; and.
Global Nutrition and Clinicals, Arla Foods amba, Brabrand, Denmark.


Background: High-protein diets increase weight loss (WL) during energy restriction; therefore, it has been suggested that additional protein intake may improve weight maintenance (WM) after WL.Objective: We investigated the effect of protein supplements from either whey with or without calcium or soy on WM success after WL compared with that of a control.Design: In a randomized, controlled, double-blinded trial, 220 participants aged 18-60 y with body mass index (in kg/m2) from 27.6 to 40.4 were included. The study was initiated with an 8-wk WL period followed by a 24-wk WM period. During WM, participants consumed the following isocaloric supplements (45-48 g/d): whey and calcium (whey+), whey, soy, or maltodextrin (control). Data were collected at baseline, before WM, and after WM (weeks 0, 8, and 32, respectively) and included body composition, blood biochemistry, and blood pressure. Meal tests were performed to investigate diet-induced-thermogenesis (DIT) and appetite sensation. Compliance was tested by 24-h urinary nitrogen excretion.Results: A total of 151 participants completed the WM period. The control and 3 protein supplements did not result in different mean ± SD weight regains (whey+: 2.19 ± 4.6 kg; whey: 2.01 ± 4.6 kg; soy: 1.76 ± 4.7 kg; and control: 2.23 ± 3.8 kg; P = 0.96), fat mass regains (whey+: 0.46 ± 4.5 kg; whey: 0.11 ± 4.1 kg; soy: 0.15 ± 4.1 kg; and control: 0.54 ± 3.3 kg; P = 0.96), or improvements in lean body mass (whey+: 1.87 ± 1.7 kg; whey: 1.94 ± 1.3 kg; soy: 1.58 ± 1.4 kg; and control: 1.74 ± 1.4 kg; P = 0.50) during WM. Changes in blood pressure and blood biochemistry were not different between groups. Compared with the control, protein supplementation resulted in higher DIT (∼30 kJ/2.5 h) and resting energy expenditure (243 kJ/d) and an anorexigenic appetite-sensation profile.Conclusion: Protein supplementation does not result in improved WM success, or blood biochemistry after WL compared with the effects of normal dietary protein intake (0.8-1.0 g · kg-1 · d-1). This trial was registered at as NCT01561131.


BMI; calcium; fat mass; lean body mass; protein; soy; weight loss; weight maintenance; whey

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