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Can Protein Supplements Cause Obesity?

When people think of protein supplements, they usually associate it with weight gain – even if that means gaining muscle. Because of this connection, though, individuals interested in losing weight as sometimes a little scared of protein supplements. So, let's get right down to the question at the root of that hesitation: Can protein supplements cause obesity? In truth, the answer is both Yes and No. Before you completely ditch protein supplements altogether, though, let's consider why each is true and how you can use protein supplements properly. Yes In theory, any food or supplement that provides you with excess calories can lead to weight gain. After all, that's how weight control works at the most basic level; any calories that are not immediately needed for energy or other uses could be stored away as body fat. This much is true. So, if the rest of your diet isn't in check or otherwise doesn't allow for protein supplements, you could be getting more calories than you actually need. This, in turn, could increase your risk of obesity. No Here's the thing, though: Your body doesn't really like to waste protein like that. Proteins are made of amino acids which happen to be the raw building material for literally everything in your body. When you take in proteins, then, your body breaks them down into their individual amino acids to be reorganized and repurposed as needed. These amino acids can be used to build or repair muscle fiber, to create any number of cells, to concoct hormones or to build any number of tissues that the body might need. To use this vital resource for fuel or store it away as fat, then, would be extremely wasteful. And your body hates waste. Adding to this, numerous studies have found that regular use of protein supplements – specifically whey protein – can be an extremely useful weight loss tool. One 2008 published in the journal Nutrition & Metabolism, divided subjects into two groups: one was give whey protein and the other was given a placebo that had the same amount of calories. Each group was placed on a calorie-controlled diet for 12 weeks. At the end of the trial, the whey protein group lost more body fat and retained more muscle than the control group. Putting It Together Ultimately then, what does this all mean? In theory, whey could cause weight gain by increasing your total caloric intake. Since protein is primarily used to build muscle and other lean mass, though, it's unlikely that that weight gain will be fat. Therefore, protein supplements probably won't cause obesity. There is a strong chance, though, that protein powders could even help you to lose weight and achieve a health, more fit body composition. It should be noted, however, that most of the studies that show a reduction of body fat with protein supplements use whey protein to achieve the results. In fact, one study found that soy protein supplements did not produce the same positive results when compared with whey – suggesting that whey has some advantage over protein sources. Read More: Are Sugar Free Protein Powders Better? 5 Protein Shakes For Weight Loss Lose Weight: How Whey Protein Concentrate Can Help You Shed Pounds

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