Whey protein supplements hate diet whey supplements.
It’s a fact.
Because diet whey represents the unicorn of the weight training world.
As the public wade through fear-mongering about whey protein supplements making you big and massive, diet whey gets to sit atop the hill, rainbow overhead, being straddled by an angel. Who’s lean as fuck.
You see, in the last few years, diet whey has been billed as the “go to” protein for anyone who wants to lose weight.
Today I’m going to show you why it isn’t.
And I’ll also show you what I would recommend you use instead.
Diet Whey? Really?
Like “superfood”, diet whey is a marketing phrase gone wrong.
It represents an area of the bodybuilding market which sold out.
Because for years, whey protein has been the subject of the inevitable “What if it makes me big and bulky?” question.
Of course, it won’t make you big and bulky.
But rather than deal with the question via solid scientific evidence to annihilate the doubt, supplement companies simply created a new line of products which was built around these bullshit myths, labeling diet whey as the so-called optimal choice for those who didn’t want to achieve said “bigness” or “bulkiness”.
Despite the fact whey was perfectly capable of getting you lean as fuck, in swans diet whey.
With it’s white packaging, and big bold claims of being for “toning”, or turning your body into a “fat incinerating machine”, we have a new hero.
Ever had a colleague join your office and get instant praise despite doing the same job as every other motherfucker?
That’s diet whey, my friend.
Rising to prominence in the latter 2000’s, the “diet whey” genre of the supplement industry is now huge, and with it’s emphasis on quick fat loss, it’s easy to see why.
But that doesn’t mean it’s true.
The Diet Whey Myth
What makes a diet whey?
Well, despite the fact supplement manufacturers will encourage you to believe that they’ve scaled the highest mountains and obtained extracts from the fountain of leanotopia, the truth is diet whey is just a regular whey protein with a few added fat burning ingredients.
That is all.
Green tea extract, caffeine, conjugated-linoleic acid, acetyl l-carnitine. The usual suspects.
Further still, the dosages of these fat burning ingredients is so small that it’ll burn through your wallet quicker than anything else.
For example, if I look at PhD Diet Whey, you can see the ingredients checklist below:
Before I pick this apart, I want to clarify something – PhD Diet Whey is probably the best-known diet whey product in the UK. There are tons of other diet whey products that I could have used for this, I merely picked this one because it was in front of me at the time of writing.
If you’re having two shakes per day, in terms of fat burning ingredients we’d be talking 500mg CLA, 200mg green tea extract, 250mg acetyl l-carnitine, and 600mg flax oil.
Acetyl l-carnitine is often used in fat burning supplements, but it’s main benefit is a temporary boost in energy levels. The increased calorie burn from that extra energy can lead to weight loss, rather than the effects of the acetyl l-carnitine itself. (1)
The recommended dosage to experience the full benefits it has to offer is between 600-2500mg per day.
With it’s bitter taste, green tea extract is a substance which appears in almost every fat burning product on the market. But with it’s main benefit being general health and wellness, it really has no business being the highly sought-after fat burning ingredient it is often believed to be. (2)
In fact, to get any of the fat burning benefits green tea extract has to offer we’d need to be consuming very high daily doses. I’m talking 400-500mg here. And if you drink caffeine on a regular basis, it’s harder still.
Flax oil is another popular fat burning ingredient which always gets thrown into diet whey formulas.
Often touted as a suitable replacement for Omega-3 capsules, it is claimed that consuming flax is merely another way of reaping the benefits of those all-important Omega-3 fatty acids. However, it’s a totally bullshit claim. (3)
It’s a nice way to boost your intake of good fats, but at only 600mg the dosage isn’t significant enough to make an impact on your total calorie intake anyway.
Finally, we have CLA.
Conjugated-linoleic acid is an intriguing fat burning ingredient which is currently the subject of very mixed and often contradicting results in the available body of scientific evidence. However, it has been shown to suppress appetite when consumed early in the day, which is a good sign. (4, 5)
However, in terms of dosage 500mg doesn’t even scratch the surface. We’d be talking more like 3000-6000mg per day for any potential weight loss benefits here.
An Alternate Route To Lean
What you have above – or in any other diet whey product – is the equivalent of a pop song which “features” one of your favourite rappers.
You’ve waited patiently through two verses and two choruses of generic nonsense, then you hear a few “uh” / “yeah” / “uh” ‘s and you know the moment is upon you.
But then boom, it’s over.
Was that it?
I mean sure, they’re in the video. But only for 15 seconds.
Diet whey is essentially a whey protein “featuring” your favourite fat burning ingredients, all in too small of a dose to have any significant ramifications on your results.
But there’s another reason most of my clients stay away from diet whey when leaning up, and it’s a biggie.
Losing weight is all about calorie control, and whey is so naturally fast-digesting that it isn’t the optimal choice for supplementation when trying to lose weight.
Despite giving you the grams of protein and calories in the shake, it doesn’t satisfy your appetite in the same way as food.
If you want to use a protein supplement while dieting, I recommend switching to casein.
Casein will hit you with your target number of grams of protein and calories, while also being slow-digesting enough to keep you feeling full for the next few hours – the effect of which will reduce your urge to snack between meals.
It’s simple science.
Slower-digesting protein > less urge to snack between meals > greater overall calorie control
Because make no mistake, controlling your calories will have a far greater impact on your physique results than throwing in a few fat burning ingredients in very small doses.
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- Villani, R.G., et al. “L-Carnitine supplementation combined with aerobic training does not promote weight loss in moderately obese women.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2000 Jun;10(2):199-207.
- Stendell-Hollis, N.R., et al. “Green tea improves metabolic biomarkers, not weight or body composition: a pilot study in overweight breast cancer survivors.” J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010 Dec;23(6):590-600. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-277X.2010.01078.x. Epub 2010 Aug 27.
- Wang, C., et al. “n-3 Fatty acids from fish or fish-oil supplements, but not alpha-linolenic acid, benefit cardiovascular disease outcomes in primary- and secondary-prevention studies: a systematic review.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Jul;84(1):5-17.
- Laso, N., et al. “Effects of milk supplementation with conjugated linoleic acid (isomers cis-9, trans-11 and trans-10, cis-12) on body composition and metabolic syndrome components.” Br J Nutr. 2007 Oct;98(4):860-7. Epub 2007 Jul 11.
- Coleman, H., et al. “Medium-chain triglycerides and conjugated linoleic acids in beverage form increase satiety and reduce food intake in humans.” Nutr Res. 2016 Jun;36(6):526-33. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.01.004. Epub 2016 Jan 23.