What happens when overweight police officers eat more protein while trying to lose fat? And does the type of protein matter? Hint: It does.
Why are there so many overweight cops? Heck, my job is sedentary and almost never involves chasing down bad guys, and I still want to be as capable as possible just in case the figurative feces hits the fan. Is it the stress? The donuts? The stress-eating of donuts?
Anyway, the study below used overweight, untrained police officers, which should not be a thing. But it does teach us a lot about diets, protein, and resistance training. Let’s investigate.
Researchers gathered up a bunch of husky cops and divided them into groups for this 12-week study:
Group 1: Diet Only – These LEOs reduced caloric intake by 20% below maintenance, didn’t train, and didn’t use protein powder.
Group 2: Diet + Whey Protein – These officers also adopted a 20% caloric deficit but lifted weights four times per week and supplemented with 75 grams of whey (two shakes per day).
Group 3: Diet + Casein Protein – Same as the whey group, but they used casein hydrolysate.
Here’s what happened:
The diet-only group lost 5 pounds of fat on average but also lost about a pound of muscle. (Don’t diet without weight training, kids.)
The whey group lost 9 pounds of fat and gained about 4 pounds of muscle.
The casein group lost 15 pounds of fat and gained 9 pounds of muscle.
Yes, those are impressive gains. The researchers guessed that the two trained groups may have been gaining back previously built muscle (“muscle memory”). Still, pretty cool.
It teaches us that the po-po needs to eat less, lift weights, and drink protein shakes. But let’s take a deeper look.
Even in a caloric deficit, the trained groups gained a nice amount of muscle. “But you can’t build muscle when dieting!” Well, they did, so shut up with your definitive statements.
Protein is the secret sauce. While the control group consumed 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, the other two consumed 1.5 grams. That means a 215-pound guy had about 147 grams of protein per day. Not that much, really. A good rule of thumb for fat loss goals is to estimate your ideal body weight and eat that many grams of protein. So, if our hypothetical 215-pound police officer needs to lose 25 pounds, he’d consume 190g of protein daily. This study required less protein, but it shows us that extra protein makes a big difference in body comp.
Some secret sauces are superior to other secret sauces. The big takeaway here is that casein is way better than whey. This is particularly true for fat-loss goals. With the same diet and training program, the casein group lost more fat and gained more muscle than the whey group. The researchers concluded, “This significant difference in body composition is likely due to improved nitrogen retention and overall anticatabolic effects caused by the peptide components of the casein hydrolysate.”
This study once again supports the Protein First Eating Strategy. In a nutshell, eat more protein or have a couple of protein shakes per day, as the study participants did here, for better results.
While whey protein is good stuff, multiple studies show that casein is superior for lifters. For example, both types increase protein synthesis, but casein also inhibits protein breakdown. And that’s just referring to generic casein.
So, casein is superior to whey, but micellar casein is superior to generic casein. It’s better for sustaining protein synthesis, building muscle, and stimulating metabolism. It’s also filling, making dieting much easier, and ridiculously anticatabolic.
The ideal protein supplement contains a blend of whey and micellar casein, so you get it all. Oh, and hey, we make it! You knew that was coming, right? MD Protein (on Amazon) contains the perfect blend and happens to taste like a Dairy Queen milkshake. Our buy 3 get 1 free deal will keep you supplied for months.