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Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Body Fat and Weight Loss in Women Long After Bariatric Surgery: a Randomized Controlled Trial



The ideal nutritional approach for weight regain after bariatric surgery remains unclear.


The objective of this study is to assess the effect of whey protein supplementation on weight loss and body composition of women who regained weight 24 or more months after bariatric surgery.


This is a 16-week open-label, parallel-group, randomized controlled trial of women who regained at least 5 % of their lowest postoperative weight after a Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB). A total of 34 participants were treated with hypocaloric diet and randomized (1:1) to receive or not supplementation with whey protein, 0.5 g/kg of the ideal body weight. The primary outcomes were changes in body weight, fat free mass (FFM), and fat mass (FM), evaluated by tetrapolar bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). Secondary outcomes included resting energy expenditure, blood glucose, lipids, adiponectin, interleukin 6 (IL-6), and cholecystokinin levels. Statistical analyses included generalized estimating equations adjusted for age and physical activity.


Fifteen patients in each group were evaluated: mean age was 45 ± 11 years, body mass index (BMI) was 35.7 ± 5.2 kg/m2, and time since surgery was 69 ± 23 months. Protein intake during follow-up increased by approximately 75 % in the intervention group (p = 0.01). The intervention group presented more body weight loss (1.86 kg, p = 0.017), accounted for FM loss (2.78, p = 0.021) and no change in FFM, as compared to controls (gain of 0.42 kg of body weight and 0.6 kg of FM). No differences in secondary outcomes were observed between groups.


Whey protein supplementation promoted body weight and FM loss in women with long-term weight regain following RYGB.

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This study was sponsored by CNPQ under process number 476459/2011-7; notice/universal call 14/2011 and by Fundo de Incentivo à Pesquisa e Eventos (FIPE) of the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA).

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Correspondence to Daniela Lopes Gomes.

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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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The authors have no commercial associations that might be a conflict of interest in relation to this article.

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Lopes Gomes, D., Moehlecke, M., Lopes da Silva, F.B. et al. Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Body Fat and Weight Loss in Women Long After Bariatric Surgery: a Randomized Controlled Trial. OBES SURG 27, 424–431 (2017).

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