Consumption of a whey protein-enriched diet may prevent hepatic steatosis associated with weight gain in elderly women

E Ooi, L Adams, K Zhu, J Lewis, Xingqiong Meng, Vicky Solah, A Devine, Colin Binns, Richard Prince

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    7 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background and aims: Protein consumption has been associated with cardio-metabolic benefits, including weight loss and improved insulin sensitivity, and may have potential benefits for individuals with fatty liver disease (FLD). We investigated the effect of increasing dietary protein intake from whey relative to carbohydrate on hepatic steatosis. Methods and results: A two-year randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 30g/day whey protein-supplemented beverage (protein) or an energy-matched low-protein high-carbohydrate beverage (control) for cardio-metabolic and bone health in 219 healthy elderly women, recruited from the Western Australian general population. Hepatic steatosis was quantified using computed tomographic liver-to-spleen (L/S) ratio. FLD was defined as liver-to-spleen difference <10 Hounsfield units. At baseline, FLD prevalence was 11.4%. Control and protein groups were similar in body mass index (BMI), insulin resistance, L/S ratio and FLD prevalence at baseline. At two-years, dietary protein increased by 20g in the protein, but not the control, group. Total energy intake and physical activity remained similar between groups. At two-years, BMI and FLD prevalence increased in both groups, with no between group differences. L/S ratio increased in control, but not protein, group at two-years, with no between group differences. In a within group comparison, change in BMI correlated with changes in L/S ratio in control (r=0.37, P=0.0007), but not with protein group (r=0.04, P=0.73). Conclusion: Increasing dietary protein intake from whey relative to carbohydrate does not reduce weight, hepatic steatosis or the prevalence of FLD in elderly women. However, it may prevent worsening of hepatic steatosis associated with weight gain.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)388-395
    Number of pages8
    JournalNutrition Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases
    Volume25
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Keywords

    • Elderly
    • Fatty liver disease
    • Hepatic steatosis
    • Whey protein
    • Women

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