Whey May Curb Effect of Carbs on Blood Sugar
Whey Supplements May Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes After High-Carbohydrate Meals
WebMD News Archive
July 29, 2005 -- Whey may be good for more than just Little Miss Muffet.
A new study shows adding whey to a high-carbohydrate meal may help people
with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels under control.
Researchers found drinking a whey supplement mixed with water along with a
meal, like mashed potatoes with meatballs,
prevented the dramatic spikes in blood sugar that normally occur in people with
Whey is a protein found in milk and is also available as a nutritional
supplement. Researchers say the results suggest that whey aids in blood sugar
regulation by stimulating the production of the hormone insulin in the
pancreas. Insulin helps the body regulate blood sugar naturally.
In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin to
keep blood sugar levels at healthy levels or the body has become resistant to
insulin. Therefore, people with type 2 diabetes are advised to modify their
diet to avoid foods with a high glycemic index that are digested rapidly and
can cause dangerous spikes in blood sugar.
Foods that have a high glycemic index -- and thus the strongest and most
immediate impact on blood sugar -- include refined grains, potatoes, and
Whey to Help Keep Blood Sugar in Check
In the study, researchers compared the effects of eating a high glycemic
index meal with or without whey supplementation on blood sugar levels after the
meal. The results appear in the current issue of the American Journal of
For two days, 14 people with diet-treated type 2 diabetes ate a high-GI
breakfast of white bread followed by a high-GI lunch of mashed potatoes and
A whey supplement of 27.6 grams of whey powder mixed in water was added to
both meals on one day. On another day, they ate the same meals with lean ham
and lactose dissolved in water in place of the whey supplement.
Lower Blood Sugar, Higher Insulin
Researchers took blood samples before and after the meals and found that
insulin production was higher after the whey-supplemented meals.
For example, insulin production was 31% higher after the high-GI breakfast
and 57% higher after the high-GI lunch when whey was included compared with
when it was not.
The study also showed that rises in blood sugar levels after lunch were
reduced by 21% with whey supplementation.
Researchers say the findings suggest that whey proteins may attenuate blood
sugar surges throughout the day.
Additional studies are also looking into the possibility of stimulating
insulin production by specifically tailoring these proteins, which may lead to
more effective diabetes treatments with fewer side effects.