If you're struggling with type 2 diabetes, you could potentially suffer from circulatory, nervous, and immune system disorders and damage. Your pancreas isn't producing enough insulin, or your cells are responding poorly to your insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in check. If this is the case, you need to make sure you manage your diabetes to eliminate further damage.
In some cases, you can manage your type 2 diabetes through exercise and diet, including switching up your drinking habits. In new research posted in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research&Care Journal, drinking a small serving of whey protein before each meal has been linked to helping control blood sugar for those with type 2 diabetes.
In the research, 18 participants who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes drank a pre-made 100-milliliter shot containing a small dosage of whey protein. They would consume the beverage 10 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner over one week. During a separate week, the same participants drank a control shot with no whey protein.
Sign up for our newsletter!
Continuous monitoring automatically throughout the week tracked blood glucose levels. The results showed that the glucose levels were more stable when consuming the whey supplement before each meal. On average, the participants had 2 extra hours daily of normalized blood sugar levels versus the week of the controlled shot.
Compared to the controlled supplement, the average participants' daily blood glucose levels were 0.6 millimoles per liter lower.
Whey protein is animal-based, meaning it will naturally have all essential amino acids. It includes branched-chain amino acids (BCAA), which promote muscle recovery and synthesis. Whey protein is also fairly rich in calcium, healthy fats, and other beneficial compounds like omega-3 fatty acids.
The effects of whey protein have also helped revive insulin. It has been shown that whey protein consumed before a carbohydrate-heavy meal can stimulate insulin and incretin hormone secretion. It can also slow gastric emptying–a condition that affects the stomach muscles and prevents proper stomach emptying. This could lead to a noticeable reduction in postprandial glycemia—a blood glucose test that determines the amount of glucose in the plasma after a meal—in type 2 diabetes.
Another study posted in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had researchers use whey protein as a supplement to a fat-rich meal in patients with type 2 diabetes. They determined that the whey protein performed better than other proteins (such as fish or egg whites) in terms of postprandial lipemia improvement–the rise in circulating triglycerides containing lipoproteins following consumption of a meal. This makes it a very beneficial protein (if consumed in the proper proportions).