Background: Most individuals at risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) can reduce risk factors through diet and exercise before resorting to drug treatment. The effect of a combination of resistance training with vegetable-based (soy) versus animal-based (whey) protein supplementation on CVD risk reduction has received little study. The study's purpose was to examine the effects of 12 weeks of resistance exercise training with soy versus whey protein supplementation on strength gains, body composition and serum lipid changes in overweight, hyperlipidemic men.
Methods: Twenty-eight overweight, male subjects (BMI 25-30) with serum cholesterol >200 mg/dl were randomly divided into 3 groups (placebo (n = 9), and soy (n = 9) or whey (n = 10) supplementation) and participated in supervised resistance training for 12 weeks. Supplements were provided in a double blind fashion.
Results: All 3 groups had significant gains in strength, averaging 47% in all major muscle groups and significant increases in fat free mass (2.6%), with no difference among groups. Percent body fat and waist-to-hip ratio decreased significantly in all 3 groups an average of 8% and 2%, respectively, with no difference among groups. Total serum cholesterol decreased significantly, again with no difference among groups.
Conclusion: Participation in a 12 week resistance exercise training program significantly increased strength and improved both body composition and serum cholesterol in overweight, hypercholesterolemic men with no added benefit from protein supplementation.