January 2013

Whey Protein May Increase Fat Loss in the Elderly

A new study suggests that whey protein supplementation may aid fat loss in the elderly.

Whey protein is a highly digestible source of protein. It is also a popular dietary protein supplement for purposes such as immune modulation, improved muscle strength and body composition, and prevention of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. There is evidence to suggest that whey protein may act as an appetite suppressant and is a good source of protein.

The new study included 12 elderly obese participants, randomly assigned to either a whey protein and essential amino acid diet or a control diet. Both diets were about 1200 calories daily and designed for weight loss. Researchers assessed body weight, body composition and skeletal muscle protein weekly.

After eight weeks, both the whey protein group and the control group lost a similar proportion of body weight and lean muscle tissue. However, the whey protein group lost 30 percent more fat, which was significantly more than the control group.

The researchers noted that more research with a larger number of participants is warranted to confirm these results.

For more information about integrative therapies for weight loss, please visit Natural Standard's Comparative Effectiveness database.


  1. Coker RH, Miller S, Schutlzer S et al. Whey protein and essential amino acids promote the reduction of adipose tissue and increased muscle protein synthesis during caloric restriction-induced weight loss in elderly, obese individuals. Nutr J. 2012 Dec 11;11(1):105.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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