Protein and weight management

Protein, a macronutrient, is an essential part of a balanced diet, the value of which has long been recognized by sportsmen and women who consume it for muscle maintenance and growth, says Volac's Louise Mahrra

Rising levels of obesity and the known link between obesity and serious conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer are causing widespread concern.

Increasingly, people are recognising the need to focus on weight management as part of a healthy lifestyle choice and for the prevention of acute and/or chronic diseases. Nowadays, more and more mainstream consumers are turning towards protein and upping their intake as they believe this supports stamina and makes them feel fuller for longer, while at the same time providing a nutrient-rich dairy alternative to sugary snacks and beverages.

The increasing number of protein-fortified products on the market today, led by the proven health benefits of protein, illustrates that food manufacturers, retailers and branded businesses have recognised and responded to these growing market opportunities.

Weight wellness has been identified as a growing trend for 2015, and today’s consumers are increasingly managing their weight using ‘everyday’ foods. The high protein trend seen during the past 3–5 years is a key driver for innovation and growth within the industry, creating new and exciting opportunities to develop protein-fortified products to help people enjoy living a healthier active lifestyle while managing their weight.

The importance of muscle in weight management:

  • muscle requires energy (calories), even at rest, and during and after exercise, this demand is increased
  • the greater the proportion of muscle to fat, the more energy is consumed by the body both at rest and during activity
  • maintenance of lean muscle can therefore help with weight management by increasing caloric consumption.

Science has played a big part in unlocking the potential for protein in everyday consumer markets. Take the outcomes of the Diogenes pan-European weight loss study, for example, in which a high protein, low GI diet has been consistently shown to be better for maintaining weight loss.

Whey protein in particular is a neutral tasting and simple solution providing the highest quality protein source available. It helps to maintain muscle mass and delivers the most sought after health benefits, such as maintaining a strong body, having the stamina to keep you going throughout the day and managing a healthy weight through feelings of satiety.

Whey protein has a high bioavailability and can be easily incorporated into a wide range of foods, snacks, nutritional supplements and beverages for active nutrition owing to its excellent solubility, smooth mouthfeel and clean flavour.