High-protein diet with immediate post-exercise protein drink: Impact on appetite in middle-aged obesity

Physiol Behav. 2024 Jan 1:273:114404. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2023.114404. Epub 2023 Nov 5.


Successful management of obesity can be challenging if individuals constantly experience cravings. The present study investigated the effects of a high-protein diet, including a high-protein drink consumed immediately after high-intensity interval training (HIIT), on appetite and weight loss in obese middle-aged individuals. A total of 52 obese middle-aged individuals (58.2 ± 4.11 years old) were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the exercise group (E, n=19), exercise and high-protein diet group (ED, n=21), and a control group (n=12). The E and ED groups engaged in cycling HIIT (comprising 90 % of peak heart rate (HRpeak) for 3 min, followed by 70 % of HRpeak for 3 min, for a total of 5 cycles) three times a week for 3 months. The ED group consumed a high-protein drink immediately after HIIT and had a daily protein intake of 1.6g/kg. Body composition and eating behavior were assessed before and after the intervention. Additionally, appetite levels were measured before and after each exercise session, before dinner, and before bedtime during three phases of the intervention: the first phase (weeks 3-4), the second phase (weeks 5-8), and the third phase (weeks 9-12). Results showed that only the ED group experienced a decrease in body mass index (from 27.4 ± 4.28 to 26.8 ± 4.09 kg/m2, p=0.04). Appetite significantly increased after exercise in both E and ED groups (p values for the three phases ranged from 0.04 to 0.001 for the E group and from 0.042 to 0.003 for the ED group). The desire to eat significantly increased after exercise in the E group (phase 1: p = 0.026; phase 2: p = 0.011; phase 3: p = 0.003), but not in the ED group. Furthermore, the frequency of late-night snacking decreased in the ED group (the score changed from 2.4 ± 0.86 to 2.7 ± 0.80, p = 0.034). Notably, the E group tended to have a higher pre-dinner appetite score than the ED group in the third phase (p = 0.063). In summary, a high daily protein intake, combined with the consumption of high-protein drinks after exercise, resulted in reduced post-exercise appetite and a decrease in the frequency of late-night snacking.

Keywords: Body composition; Caloric intake; Nutrient composition; Supplement.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Appetite* / physiology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity*


  • Dietary Proteins