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This Special Food Improves Meal Satisfaction


By Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic, PhD, RD


Are you looking for something to help curb your appetite and prevent overeating?  

Who isn’t nowadays? Especially with food being more available and more tasty than ever, and with no end in sight to it.



Well, the answer to your challenging quest is really quite simple – and it tastes good too!

Plus, it provides your body with nutrients it needs anyways, all while helping you maintain lean body tissue and boosting your metabolism.

What is this special nutrient?

Read on to find out.

And ladies, pay particular attention, because this one’s especially for you.

Appetite Research

In our country's world’s “Battle of the Bulge”, researchers on every continent are looking for ways to help us crave less food and burn more calories.

It would make sense to just make less addicting food and focus more on wholesome, natural foods, but that isn’t going to happen anytime soon; not if most food manufacturers have anything to say about it anyways.


However, one of the techniques we can consciously employ to get a better handle on our raging appetites, is modifying our macronutrient composition.

What does that mean exactly?

Well, based off a growing number of research investigations, diets high in protein foods are shown to greatly increase our satiety compared to foods high in carbohydrates and/or fats. These high protein foods include items like eggs, fish, poultry and dairy products.

Out of all these, one of the most effective for curbing appetite is dairy-derived whey protein.


What is Whey Protein?

Whey is one of the major proteins found in bovine (cow) milk; the other is casein.

Whey can be separated from casein during food production, such as the creation of cheese, and be used to make its own product, or be added to other foods.


Milk, casein curds and liquid whey


In this case, we’re referring to whey that is dried after being separated from the casein and other components of milk (like lactose and fat), purified and made into the whey protein powders that you can make smoothies and post-workout shakes with.

Whey and Satiety Science

Several studies have shown whey’s effectiveness for significantly reducing hunger. However, many of these studies looked at whey in a solid food form rather than as a liquid, as it’s normally consumed (like in shakes).  

Also, many studies look just at the effects in men, or a mixture of men and women. In the study we’re looking at today, the results are specific to women alone.

To answer the question of the beneficial effects of whey on hunger cravings but the uncertainty of its effects in liquid form, very recently, researchers from Down Under (Poppit S et al, 2011) looked at the effects of a moderate-dose whey protein isolate beverage on appetite, satiety and food intake in a group of 50 overweight women with low dietary restraint (translation = not actively “dieting”).


Study Design Specific to Women

These 50 women were brought into the lab for testing on four separate occasions after consuming standardized, pre-prepared evening and breakfast meals.

Two hours after the breakfasts, the women were given one of the following test beverages:
•    Plain Water
•    Water with 5 grams whey protein
•    Water with 10 grams of whey protein
•    Water with 20 grams of whey protein

All beverages were matched for volume, flavor, and color. The whey and water was sweetened similarly with sucrose and acesulfame K (common non-nutritive sweeteners). They were served chilled from covered bottles in opaque drinking glasses to minimize visual comparisons.

For two hours after drinking the test drinks, participant’s level of hunger, fullness, desire to eat and satiety were monitored every 15 minutes for the first hour and every 30 minutes for the second hour, and then following their lunch.  

At lunch they were given a selection of different items including chicken and ham, salad with oil-based dressing, canned peaches, carrot and raisin loaf, and water. Each meal item was provided in moderate excess and was weighed before and after for calculation of energy and macronutrient intake.


Research Results

The final statistical analysis of this study showed that the women felt less hunger and greater fullness with when protein was added to the water beverages. And, this effect occurred slightly in a dose response manner, with more fullness and satisfaction after the 20 grams of whey protein versus 5 grams.  

The greatest influence of whey on satiety occurred at 90 minutes following it’s intake – women were fuller and less hungry for up to an hour and a half after having the whey protein drink.

With regards to amount of food consumed at lunch, it was subsequently decreased in parallel with the amount of protein they consumed two hours before – women ate less calories after having the drink with 20 grams of protein than they did with water.


However, the results for total energy intake at lunch adjusted for the calories in the beverage were not statistically different between trials. However, keep in mind, the women were not trying to control how much they ate – they were just told to eat until they were full. And from their enrollment in this study, these women were not overly concerned about their caloric intake anyhow.

What Whey Can Do for You, Ladies

What we’ve learned from this study, and the researcher investigations before this, is that drinking a whey protein drink before a meal can help improve your feelings of satiety and desire for food, which in can help you eat less, if you’re consciously trying to do so.

This technique can be used effectively about an hour and a half before you’re heading out to a big business dinner, or to an overly affectionate family member’s house (you know the one, the aunt who thinks you’re too skinny and you need to eat more).

 

It also works especially well for women who have weight to lose due to previous overeating or under-exercising.  

But, you do have to exert some control of your own when faced with an over-abundance of food, since no special food item or drink has the ability to stop you from putting food in your mouth – that’s up to you. However, whey protein can make this easier to do and help you stay on track with your healthy eating plan.

 

CONSUMER ALERT: Not All Protein Powders Are Created With Safe Ingredients. Do Not Consume Any Whey Protein Until You Read This Completely


References:

Poppitt, S.D., et al. Low-dose whey protein-enriched water beverages alter satiety in a study of  overweight women. Appetite (2011), doi:10.1016/j.appet.2011.01.015