Background: Although soy protein may have many health benefits derived from its associated antioxidants, many male exercisers avoid soy protein. This is due partly to a popular, but untested notion that in males, soy is inferior to whey in promoting muscle weight gain. This study provided a direct comparison between a soy product and a whey product.
Methods: Lean body mass gain was examined in males from a university weight training class given daily servings of micronutrient-fortified protein bars containing soy or whey protein (33 g protein/day, 9 weeks, n = 9 for each protein treatment group). Training used workouts with fairly low repetition numbers per set. A control group from the class (N = 9) did the training, but did not consume either type protein bar.
Results: Both the soy and whey treatment groups showed a gain in lean body mass, but the training-only group did not. The whey and training only groups, but not the soy group, showed a potentially deleterious post-training effect on two antioxidant-related related parameters.
Conclusions: Soy and whey protein bar products both promoted exercise training-induced lean body mass gain, but the soy had the added benefit of preserving two aspects of antioxidant function.