Whey Protein Cuts Appetite

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Whey protein supplements promote satiety (feeling of fullness) and prevent overeating.  The body tries to maintain a constant weight that scientists call the weight “set point.”  Go on a diet and lose 20 pounds and the weight set point control mechanisms increase hunger and slow metabolism.  High-protein meals help people lose weight because they prevent hunger.  One reason may be that the amino acids that make up proteins are converted to blood sugar in the liver, which maintains a steady flow of nutrients to the brain.  A study from the University of California, Davis showed that whey protein increases the secretion of appetite-controlling hormones such as cholecystokinin.  The main controlling center for the weight set point is in the hypothalamus, located in the lower part of the brain.  Metabolic hormones such as insulin, glucagon and growth hormone; environmental temperature, fat cell hormones such as leptin and gut hormones such as cholecystokinin, peptide YY and ghrelin influence it.  These chemicals and brain centers are part of a sophisticated system that regulates hunger, satiety (fullness), energy absorption, food transit time in the gut and metabolic rate.  Cholecystokinin, released while eating whey protein, promotes satiety and prevents overeating.  (Physiology & Behavior, in press; published online October 2007)