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Ask Tufts Experts February 2013 Issue

Q: I’m a 70-year-old male whose usual exercise is weight training with relatively heavy-duty intensity and consistency. I started taking a whey protein supplement to meet my protein needs. Is it better to take with meals or at more times throughout the day?

Answer :  Roger A. Fielding, PhD, director of Tufts’ HNRCA Nutrition, Exercise, Physiology and Sarcopenia (NEPS) Laboratory, answers, "To enhance the effects of the whey protein it is better to take after exercise and between meals so it does not act as an appetite suppressant and decrease your usual food intake."

Fielding and colleagues have recently studied whether added protein, such as that in whey supplements, could help protect against sarcopenia, the gradual loss of skeletal muscle in the later years of life. Researchers compared the effects of a whey-protein beverage (40 grams/day)against a placebo in a group of men and women ages 70-85 who also underwent resistance strength training. The study concluded that whey-protein supplementation at this dose did not offer additional benefit in mobility-limited older adults.

Whey protein is a collection of proteins isolated from whey, a byproduct of cheese manufactured from cow’s milk.

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