Use of Whey Protein Supplementation in Type 2 Diabetes

For people with controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the regulation of postprandial glycemia is essential to achieving optimal glycemic control, which may reduce the risk of complications associated with hyperglycemia. 

Other than medications, nutrition plays an integral and fundamental role in the management of T2DM and represents an opportunity to optimize glycemic control in a more cost-effective manner. 

Studies have shown that consuming whey protein before a main meal effectively reduces postprandial glycemic excursions in patients with T2DM. This happens because the consumption of whey protein preload stimulates the early and sustained release of insulin and other gut peptides, such as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), and delays gastric emptying, reducing glycemic response to the meal. 

Protein Shakes to Reduce Hyperglycemia 

In a recently published study, researchers found that using a whey protein shot before every meal can help reduce blood sugar levels after eating. The results appear in the journal BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

For the study, the team used a ready-to-drink whey protein 10 minutes prior to each of their main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) over a 7-day free-living period. The 18 participants of the study had type 2 diabetes, and after the 7-day period of using the whey protein, they had a washout period with no whey.

No changes in the participants’ habitual dietary or physical activity patterns were made, and their glucose levels were monitored using an implanted CGM device (Dexcom G6) positioned in their non-sleeping side lower abdomen. 

The team found that the supplementation with whey protein reduced the prevalence of daily hyperglycemia by 8%±19%, increasing the time of euglycemia during the day. 

They concluded that consuming a premeal whey protein shot containing 15 grams of protein before each meal could be a good way of reducing daily hyperglycemia in T2DM. 


Kieran Smith, et al. Thrice daily consumption of a novel, premeal shot containing a low dose of whey protein increases time in euglycemia during 7 days of free-living in individuals with type 2 diabetes. 2022. BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care. doi: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2022-002820. 

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