Effect of dairy proteins on appetite, energy expenditure, body weight, and composition: a review of the evidence from controlled clinical trials

Adv Nutr. 2013 Jul 1;4(4):418-38. doi: 10.3945/an.113.003723.


Evidence supports that a high proportion of calories from protein increases weight loss and prevents weight (re)gain. Proteins are known to induce satiety, increase secretion of gastrointestinal hormones, and increase diet-induced thermogenesis, but less is known about whether various types of proteins exert different metabolic effects. In the Western world, dairy protein, which consists of 80% casein and 20% whey, is a large contributor to our daily protein intake. Casein and whey differ in absorption and digestion rates, with casein being a "slow" protein and whey being a "fast" protein. In addition, they differ in amino acid composition. This review examines whether casein, whey, and other protein sources exert different metabolic effects and targets to clarify the underlying mechanisms. Data indicate that whey is more satiating in the short term, whereas casein is more satiating in the long term. In addition, some studies indicate that whey stimulates the secretion of the incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide more than other proteins. However, for the satiety (cholecystokinin and peptide YY) and hunger-stimulating (ghrelin) hormones, no clear evidence exists that 1 protein source has a greater stimulating effect compared with others. Likewise, no clear evidence exists that 1 protein source results in higher diet-induced thermogenesis and promotes more beneficial changes in body weight and composition compared with other protein sources. However, data indicate that amino acid composition, rate of absorption, and protein/food texture may be important factors for protein-stimulated metabolic effects.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Appetite / drug effects*
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Caseins / administration & dosage
  • Caseins / pharmacokinetics
  • Controlled Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Dairy Products*
  • Diet
  • Digestion
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hunger / drug effects
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Milk Proteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Satiation / drug effects
  • Time Factors
  • Whey Proteins


  • Caseins
  • Gastrointestinal Hormones
  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins