Solid protein vs. liquid protein

May 12th, 2017 by

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Solid Protein vs. Liquid Protein

Have you ever wondered if it makes a difference on your physique if you consume your protein from shakes or solid food? If so, I have some info that might interested you. See below.

In a recent, 16-week study published last month, researchers looked at the difference between consuming whey protein or solid protein from food. To do so, they had 21 subjects who were sedentary and overweight or obese consume 5-6 meals a day (with 21-25g of protein per meal). The total amount of calories for each individual was calculated to meet their energy requirements for the day. So they were to eat enough to maintain their weight. That being said, the diet was ab libitum and subjects were provided with a meal plan with various options to consume. They were also told to keep a food log.

The difference between groups was that one consumed solid protein sources for all their meals. The other consumed a whey protein supplement for 3 of their meals on training days and 2 on non-training days while the rest were solid. Both groups also followed a similar workout plan.

Before and after the study, the researchers recorded the subjects weight, total fat mass, abdominal fat mass and visceral adipose tissue (the fat stored around the organs). They also looked at cardiometabolic biomarkers (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, glucose, insulin, adiponectin, systolic blood pressure) for each individual. Additionally, subjects kept track of their levels of hunger and satiety in their food log.

So what did the researchers find? Well, they found that the subjects lost a significant amount of weight and fat all over, but there was no difference between groups. They also made significant improvements in their cardiometabolic markers, but once again, no difference between groups.

Also, worth mentioning is that both groups met their recommended total caloric intake and their total daily protein intake was also higher during the study than before they started. Finally, hunger decreased and satiety increased in both groups with no difference between them.

With all that said, it doesn’t look like it makes a difference whether you get your protein from from solid food or a shake. However, this is just one study, with a few limitations.

First off, there was no control group to compare to. Also, this was a small study group within a specific segment of the population. Additionally, the diet was ad libitum and not provided. So you have to take the subject’s word that they ate accordingly. Regardless tho, these smaller studies have a way of leading to newer studies to broaden our knowledge. So we’ll have to wait for those studies, but for now, we can see an inkling that it may not matter what state your protein comes in. What does seem to matter is that you keep active and consume a higher protein intake (we generally recommend 0.8-1.2g per pound of body weight a day).

For more information:
Arciero, PJ et al. Protein-Pacing from Food or Supplementation Improves Physical Performance in Overweight Men and Women: The PRISE 2 Study. Nutrients. 2016. 11;8(5). E288.