Hacking the Benefits of Calorie Restriction with Whey Protein

Have you heard about intermittent fasting or calorie restriction? The health and longevity benefits of calorie restriction have been known for decades.

In This Article

Whey Protein Mimics Benefits of Calorie Restriction 

Have you heard about intermittent fasting or calorie restriction? The health and longevity benefits of calorie restriction have been known for decades.11 

lifespa image, whey protein powder and scooper

Health Benefits of Calorie Restriction 

  1. Longevity  
  2. Youthfulness 
  3. Healthy blood sugar 
  4. Immune support 
  5. Cardiovascular support 
  6. Antioxidant benefit 
  7. Improved cognitive function 
  8. Enhanced energy and vitality 

While the benefits of calorie restriction are compelling, sticking to a restricted-calorie diet has proven to be a challenge for most people. 

To remedy this, researchers set out to find ways to mimic calorie restriction in other ways, without sacrificing the health and longevity benefits. At the top of the list was whey protein—shown in numerous studies to mimic the benefits of calorie restriction. 

We recommend "How to Eat Less and Thrive Without Hunger": https://lifespa.com/eat-less-thrive-without-hunger/

Casein + Whey 

Cows’ milk is 80% casein and 20% whey. Most cheeses, unfortunately, throw away the whey and leave the much harder-to-digest casein to enrich the cheese. Human mothers’ milk is just the opposite, with as much as 80% whey and only 20% casein, suggesting we are hardwired to digest, assimilate, and utilize whey protein.1 

Whey protein is one of the highest sources of branched-chain amino acids, which has made it popular for building muscles in athletes and the elderly.2 But it’s benefits go way beyond muscle. 

New research finds branched-chain amino acids and whey’s other constituents can extend life in in certain organisms (such as mice) by as much as nine human years.3,4 

Calorie Restriction + Whey Protein Study 

In one study, 16 resistance-trained athletes were put on a calorie-restricted diet with a workout carbohydrate or whey protein. The goal of the study was to retain lean body mass while effectively burning fat. This study was interesting because many folks have concerns about losing muscle mass, but still want to become leaner and burn say some extra belly, hip, or thigh fat.  

In this study, the whey-supplemented group maintained lean body mass while burning fat. The whey group gained significantly more strength compared to the carb group. They concluded the whey group lost unwanted fat while maintaining lean body mass, while the carb group lost weight by losing lean body mass.13 

The Right Kind of Whey Protein Powder 

LifeSpa’s Whey Pure is a pure (no additive) low-heat processed whey protein powder sourced from pristine grass-fed New Zealand cows. Whey Pure is uniquely rich in immunoglobulins (antibodies), derived from careful processing techniques under controlled temperatures (low heat and quick cooling techniques protect the proteins) and pH. During a series of gentle filtration steps, lactose and water are removed from a slurry of whey. Special care is taken to maintain integrity of the proteins and antibodies and to optimize the protein complex. The result is a special fresh protein powder with a six-month expiration date—unlike any other protein powder on the market. We get two shipments a year, so get it while it’s fresh. 

In comparison to cow’s milk and ordinary whey protein concentrate, Whey Pure contains significantly greater concentrations of proteins and immunoglobulins.8 

Whey Pure can be used not only as a high quality protein source for healthy individuals, but also to provide immunoglobulins to those in need. The immunoglobulins it contains are almost identical to those found in humans and resist peptic digestion. The immune-balancing effect of immunoglobulins supports the body’s normal defense mechanisms.8 

Whey Protein + Longevity 

Researchers were fascinated how certain worms had extremely long lifespans. They discovered their longevity was in part linked to their ability to upregulate the same branched-chain amino acids found in whey.3 

In mice, those supplemented with a branched-chain amino acid formula similar to whey lived 95 days or 12% longer than mice not supplemented. Translated to human years, that is 9.4 years of extended life!4 

Symptoms of Inadequate Protein as You Age16,17 

b12-brain_holdering-elderly-hand_image
  • Poor cognitive function 
  • Memory concerns 
  • Poor immunity 
  • Reduced strength 
  • Weaker bones 
  • Decreased recovery time 

Whey + Muscle Mass 

Whey protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids, shown to support healthy development of muscle mass and reduce muscle breakdown from aging or calorie-restricted diets.12,14-17 Whey protein is particularly high in leucine, a branched-chain amino acids responsible for supporting and maintaining muscle mass.8,18 

Building muscle is not an aesthetic requirement as we age; it is a health requirement. As we age, it’s common for muscles to store or be laced with fat, making the muscle weaker and more metabolically active.  

Whey Supports Healthy Blood Sugar  

Too much sugar in the diet over the years can store as fat in muscles, making you gain weight, have weaker muscles, and become more vulnerable to blood sugar concerns.  

In one study, 25 healthy human volunteers received either 0, 5, or 30 grams of whey protein and 50 grams of glucose (sugar) to create a state of insulin resistance every morning for eleven days. The study found whey protein significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in each group.5 

Whey for Breakfast Boosts Weight Loss 

A new study reported in the 2016 annual meeting of the Endocrine Society found eating a high-protein breakfast that included whey protein had a powerful effect on weight loss, satiety, and post-meal blood sugar spikes.19 

The study evaluated 48 overweight and obese individuals with blood sugar spikes for 23 months. They were asked to consume a large breakfast, a medium-sized lunch, and a light supper. All meals delivered the same number of calories. 

The participants were broken up into three groups, divided by different types of foods they consumed for breakfast: 

  1. Whey protein shake. 
  2. Soy, tuna, or eggs. 
  3. Foods high in carbs or starches. 

During the study, they measured BMI and weight loss, satiety levels, and sugar spikes after meals. 

The group who had the whey protein shake for breakfast lost more weight, reported less hunger, and had lower post-meal blood sugar spikes compared to the groups who ate other foods. 

The lead researcher of the study, Daniela Jakubowicz, MD, added that the whey protein significantly lowered ghrelin, the hunger hormone.19 

Whey Boosts Immunity 

Numerous studies link whey protein to a healthy immune response. After vaccinations, it is common to have an aggressive immune response. Whey protein was shown to robustly support a primary and secondary antibody response to a variety of vaccines.6 

In another study, whey was found superior to other protein sources, like soy, casein, wheat, corn, egg white, fish, beef, or spirulina in boosting a humoral immune response and immune antibodies. In fact, in some instances, the response was nearly five times greater than other protein sources in supporting a healthy adaptive and humoral immune response, which play a major role in a healthy immune response.7 

Boosts Antioxidant Activity 

Glutathione, a powerful immune system stimulant and antioxidant, is greatly increased by supplemental whey protein.7 

Cysteine and glutamate are found in higher concentrations in Whey Pure than in other high biological value proteins. These amino acids serve as precursors to glutathione,9 an endogenous antioxidant, especially needed during stress, exercise, and poor nutrition. 

Lactoferrin, alpha-lactalbumin, beta-lactoglobulin, and bovine serum albumin are other proteins in Whey Pure that contribute to glutathione synthesis and support immune function.9,10 

Whey Benefits LymphBased Immunity8 

Each immunoglobulin in LifeSpa’s Whey Pure (IgG1, IgG2, IgM, and IgA) has a specific role in immune function: 

  • IgM responds quickly to antigens, which may include bacteria and viruses. 
  • Later in the response, IgG1 and IgG2 can help the body fight harmful pathogens  
  • IgA is critical to the immune system. 
  • Immunoglobulins also contribute to the humoral immunity of gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT).

As you can see, there are many reasons why I love whey protein so much. Have you tried LifeSpa’s Whey Pure? What did you notice? 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882692/?report=classic
  2. https://lifespa.com/muscle-loss-frailty-whey/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156598/?report=classic
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20889128/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19923374/ 
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12639817/ 
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2743633/ 
  8. https://store.lifespa.com/product/whey-pure/ 
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1782728/ 
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9779289/ 
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3014770/?report=classic 
  12. https://lifespa.com/muscle-loss-frailty-whey/ 
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28415067/ 
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4882708/ 
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18371214 
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3780834/ 
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23867520  
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29031484 
  19. https://lifespa.com/whey-protein-best-breakfast-balance-weight-blood-sugar/ 

13 thoughts on “Hacking the Benefits of Calorie Restriction with Whey Protein”

  1. Hi John,

    What’s your take on A1 Versus A2 protein in milk? Goodness of milk stated in Ayurveda belongs to desi cows which produce A2 milk right

    Reply
  2. As someone who has always had problems with milk and has been diagnosed with actual milk allergies, I’m wondering if it’s the whey or casein components that are the biggest problem in allergies? I would really like to try this whey protein, maybe slowly at first.

    Reply
  3. In my Ayurvedic studies, I was taught that whey is acidic and hard to digest, therefore it is best to avoid whey protein powders. Is LifeSpa’s whey protein formulated in a way that counters these qualities?

    Reply
    • I used whey for over 20 years after working out, reading it was good for your immunity but I’ve also read that whey is inflammatory and I do notice more pain with my ordinary organic, grass fed whey now that I’m older and have knee and hip issues(non arthritic). Interested to hear LifeSpa’s answer.

      Reply
    • Hi Katie,

      I am not a fan of processed protein powders, which is why I sourced my Whey Pure product.

      Mother’s milk is 80% whey and we have never lost our ability to digest it. In fact, most of the research on whey is the benefits it provides for the elderly. Digestion is weaker in both infants and elderly.

      Not sure about the notion that whey is hard to digest. It is one of the easiest animal proteins to break down.

      Be Well,
      Dr. John

      Reply
  4. Being someone that avoids dairy due to it upsetting my stomach, would whey protein still be a good option? I have just been using high quality plant protein powders.

    Reply
  5. Hi Dr. D,
    I have been taking a very high quality Organic Raw Pea & Brown Rice Protein Isolate – 100% Plant Protein Powder – Non GMO & Gluten Free. Is there any benefit to switching to whey?
    I have also been fasting one full day a week for the past 5 years – at 74, I am still firing on all cylinders.
    Many many thanks for all you fabulous efforts to keep us healthy and informed
    Cheers,
    Don

    Reply
  6. Hi Dr. John,
    I have a question about the immunoglobulins you mention that are in the whey. I’m a little confused about the benefit of those bovine IgG, IgA and IgM proteins. Is it not true that such proteins must be broken down into their individual amino acids in order to be absorbed and re-made into self, i.e. our own IgG, IgA and IgM? Is that not true or perhaps the antibodies have effects in the gut itself, before they are broken down? Or they somehow simply provide the best combination of raw materials for the body to rebuild these proteins? I’m both a scientist and an Ayurvedic enthusiast so I really love learning about all these topics you cover.
    Thank you so much for this article and so many more with great up to the minute information proving with western science what Ayurveda has known for millenia.
    Best,
    Diane

    Reply

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