By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
If you’re trying to shed a few extra pounds, you may have heard that increasing protein in your diet can help you stay full and reduce cravings. But, what about collagen? Collagen is a type of protein as well, but does it have the same effects as other types of protein?
Collagen is a protein found in the connective tissue of mammals. As we age, we start to lose collagen. The loss of this structural protein results in wrinkles and creaky, achy joints.
Collagen peptide supplements come in powdered or capsule form and can be used to help slow the decline of collagen in the body. Supplementing with collagen peptides may help improve the appearance of skin and keep joints healthy. But since collagen peptides are a type of protein, they could have other health benefits as well.
Although there haven’t been many studies on collagen peptides and weight loss, some emerging research indicates they might help you lose weight in a number of ways. In a small 2019 study, 90 volunteers with an average body mass index of 25.6 were given either 2,000 mg per day of collagen or a placebo. After 12 weeks, those who received the collagen peptide supplements showed significant improvements in body fat percentage and body fat mass.
A 2018 animal study found similar results. Mice were fed a high-fat diet and supplemented with various amounts of collagen peptides. Those that received the collagen peptides were found to have improved fat metabolism and less stored body fat overall.
A 2008 study provided 24 adults with different types of protein supplements at two breakfast meals. The first meal consisted of either alpha-lactalbumin, gelatin or gelatin with tryptophan. The second meal had soy, casein and whey or whey with glucagon-like peptide. They found that after the first breakfast, those who consumed the meal high in gelatin — a less broken down version of collagen — reported a 40% increase in satiety, or feeling of fullness. The subjects that received the gelatin also ended up consuming fewer calories for lunch. This research suggests that eating meals that include collagen may help you eat less overall, helping you lose weight.
Collagen may also help you maintain healthy weight indirectly, by increasing muscle mass and keeping the joints fluid and flexible. Collagen has been found to boost lean body mass and strength in older adults. More muscle speeds up metabolism, so you burn more calories even at rest. Additionally, if you have pain-free joints, you are more likely to exercise, which could help you maintain a healthy weight.
Although there haven’t been many direct studies on collagen supplements and weight loss, there are several potential ways it could help you maintain a healthy weight.
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