Whey Protein versus Fast Food: New Study Shows They’re the Same

by Anthony Roberts ~ source

I’ll make this somewhat brief, partially because I hate studies like this, and partially because sometimes-VPX writer Adel Moussa has already covered this at length over at his site. So here’s what happened: a group of untrained subjects (24 in total) were randomly selected to begin weight training and consume either a whey protein shake (33g of whey) or 1350 calories of fast food (containing 41g of highly dubious protein). The training consisted of at least one hour performed thrice weekly.

So what happened, in terms of body composition? Presumably you’ve read the title of this article, so you already know that the two groups were equal at the end of the study. In other words, both groups gained the same amount of weight (3.6kg) and the same amount of lean mass (2.1kg).

Ok, so this is shocking to say the least, right?

We might expect the fast-food eaters to gain more weight and perhaps more lean mass (but a lower overall percentage compared to the weight they gained), but certainly not for the two groups to come out even.

However, when we take a look at some of the general health markers that changed, we see that fasting insulin was elevated in the fast food group, as was a substrate of LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff). With an elevated fasting insulin level, it would stand to reason that the fastfood group would ultimately begin showing the effects of their poor diet in the coming months, although since both groups experienced a 10%-ish raise in metabolism, it probably wasn’t evident by the time the study had concluded. And we all know what happens when your fasting insulin levels get too high for too long…

A year later, both groups were back to normal, regardless of whether they consumed whey protein or fast food. So if you’re just starting out, you might be able to eat whatever you want for a few months and not see any ill-effects in terms of body composition. The health parameters are another story, and even after three months, I’ll remind you that the ill-effects have clearly begun to set in.

So why do I hate studies like this? Because for the rest of us who have been training for any length of time, three months of fast food is going to add a lot of fat and very little muscle, compared to a decent whey protein. Beginners are a different animal altogether, and we see in study after study that virtually anything works for them (HMB comes to mind). So while this kind of study might be interesting, it’s far from an excuse to add a Happy Meal to your daily routine.

Here’s the abstract: