A New Whey to Lower Blood Sugar

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

Research shows a high intake of dairy is associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes. Is whey protein the reason?1

Whey protein is the watery portion of milk that separates from cheese curdles. It contains a variety of beneficial nutrients including minerals and immune-boosting compounds.

A new study shows whey protein may lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics.2

Whey Protein Decreased Blood Sugar Levels by 28%

A total of 15 diabetics were recruited for the study. They were randomly assigned to a placebo or a treatment group. The treatment group received 50 grams of whey and a high glycemic meal consisting of three slices of bread with jelly.

Both groups had their blood sugar levels monitored 30 minutes before the meal and in different intervals thereafter (15, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 minutes). Insulin and GLP-1, a hormone that increases insulin production, were also measured.

Compared to the placebo group, the blood sugar levels in the treatment group decreased by an average of 28%.2

GLP and insulin levels were also higher, with insulin peaking at 96%, 30 minutes after the meal. C-peptide, a component of insulin, was also higher at 43% over the 180-minute post-meal period.

Whey Protein Stimulates Insulin Secretion

The results of this study are remarkable and indicate that whey protein may be a useful addition to a diabetic diet. The whey protein enhanced the secretion of insulin which was reflected in lower glucose levels.

Diabetics have an impaired insulin response, which is the reason they have high sugar levels after a meal. Insulin is the hormone that allows the body to use sugar as a source of fuel.

Find a Good Whey Protein Product

Impressed with the benefits of whey protein? Consider supplementing with it. But before you do, make sure you do a little bit of homework.

A number of whey protein powders exist on the market. One to consider is whey protein isolate. These products have a high concentration of protein (90-96%), little-to-no fat, and no lactose.

In addition, look for a product that has been processed using low temperatures and is microfiltered. Heat can change the 3D shape of milk proteins, which can alter their biological activity.

Microfiltering ensures the beneficial compounds in whey protein (lactoferrin for example) are retained during the manufacturing process.

References:

  1. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Sep;65(9):1027-31. 
  2. Diabetologia. 2014 Sep;57(9):1807-11.

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