Can Diabetics Use Whey Protein Shakes?

Whey protein will help you curb hunger, recover quickly from exercise and lose fat while maintaining muscle, according to the National Dairy Council. Whey is the liquid fraction of protein that is left when removing the curds, or the solids, from dairy. You can use whey protein if you have diabetes. In fact, it may help you gain better control over your blood sugar levels. Talk to your doctor before taking whey protein shakes, though, especially if you have diabetes, and don't stop taking medication that has been prescribed.

Whey protein powder looks sugary, but it's a way to improve your blood sugar readings. (Image: ogichobanov/iStock/Getty Images)

Whey With Your Meal

Test subjects with Type 2 diabetes showed a higher insulin response after eating a carbohydrate-containing meal that included whey protein powder than a similar meal without whey. Researchers mixed the powder into mashed potatoes. The increased insulin response was accompanied by lower post-meal blood sugar levels. This effect has the potential to delay the need for diabetes medications and has not been shown to cause hypoglycemia, reported the researchers in a 2005 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition."

Whey Before Your Meal

Researchers who published a study in 2014 in "Diabetologia" found similar results. Participants had 28 percent lower blood sugar levels and 96 percent higher insulin levels after a high-carbohydrate meal when they drank a whey protein shake beforehand. Look for a whey protein concentrate powder that contains no added sugars.

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