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Whey Powder for Diabetics

author image Markee Marchini
Markee Marchini is a Registered Dietitian who has been writing freelance articles since 2009. Her work has been published on eHow and LIVESTRONG.COM, where she writes about vegetarianism, media, longevity and genetics. She holds a Master of Health Science in nutrition communication from Ryerson University.
Whey Powder for Diabetics
Whey protein on a spoon. Photo Credit: marekuliasz/iStock/Getty Images

Whey powder is a protein supplement that is eligible for use as part of a diabetic diet. Diabetics can use whey powder in place of other protein sources in instances of poor appetite, unintentional weight loss or personal preference. Using whey powder in place of real foods when there is no sensible indication causes loss of the benefits achieved from eating whole food sources.

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Whey powder is a complete form of whey protein that comes from cheese and casein production. It is often sold in health food stores claiming that is helps build muscle. Many whey powder products dangerously recommend consuming two to three times the daily allowance of protein. The Recommended dietary allowance for most healthy diabetics is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram body weight or roughly 40 to 50 grams of protein per day.

Diabetic Exchange Lists

The diabetic exchange lists includes the five food groups, carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, protein, dairy and meat & beans. The diet plan works by recommending a certain number of servings for each food group for each day based on calorie needs. Needs and exchange list plans are different for every individual. A dietitian can outline your personal diet plan. Whey powder is a part of the protein exchange. One protein exchange equals 7g of protein.


Supplementing with whey powder is most useful when your appetite does not allow you to consume adequate protein exchanges. Whey powder can be mixed into anything fluid, such as smoothies, yogurt or cottage cheese to increase to protein content. If you wish to use whey powder on a diabetic diet, consume 7g worth in exchange for each protein serving. The whey powder packaging should state how much protein is in one serving, but typically one serving or 7g equals one scoop.


The safety of whey powder has not been widely studied, as it comes from cheese and all the components are thought to be safe for consumption in moderate amounts. There are no long term research studies on whey protein supplementation in humans. In a study published in the Journal of Enternal and Paternal Nutrition, whey protein caused weight gain better than other complete proteins in starving animals.


The advantage of using whey powder is that it is an easier way to consume a complete protein in situations that complete proteins cannot be easily consumed, such as poor appetite or when very ill and receiving nourishment through a feeding tube. The disadvantages when consuming whey powder, you lose the benefits of eating complete foods which, unlike whey powder contain other essential vitamins and minerals.

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