Plant-based diets are getting a lot of buzz lately. Unlike vegan diets, which only contain plant foods and no animal products, plant-based diets are a bit more flexible, including some dairy, fish and even meat. Emerging studies suggest that eating plant-based can help support heart health, gut health and more. What are some important considerations for achieving and maintaining good blood sugar control when following a plant-based diet?
Plant foods like beans, whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Plus, many plant foods have unique anti-inflammatory properties. However, when it comes to regulating blood sugar in diabetes and prediabetes, striking a balance can be challenging.
Whey Protein Powder Offers Unique Benefits
Whey protein is one of the primary proteins found in dairy products. Whey is a high-quality protein that contains all of the nine essential amino acids required by the body. Numerous well-designed studies have shown that whey protein offers unique health benefits.
- Stabilizes Blood Sugar. Whey protein can help balance blood sugar levels when consumed before a carbohydrate-rich meal making it helpful for prediabetes and diabetes management.
- Suppresses Appetite. Whey protein helps reduce appetite and improves fullness after meals likely due to its impact on both insulin and gut hormones and its role in slowing down the emptying of the stomach.
- Muscle Recovery and Repair. Consuming whey protein shortly after exercise helps support muscle protein synthesis for performance and recovery. Whey protein contains greater amounts of branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine compared to plant protein, which are important for muscle repair.
Ensure Adequate Protein Intake
Plant foods like beans, nuts, seeds and foods made with these ingredients like tofu and veggie burgers are good sources of protein. Unfortunately, plant-based diets, especially when not properly balanced, can be lacking in protein. Plus, inadequate protein intake can negatively impact blood sugar control and increase hunger, resulting in overeating. Protein supplements and other high-quality animal protein foods can help bridge the gap to avoid falling short in protein on a plant-based diet.
Plant-based diets that contain some high-quality protein foods such as whey protein powder, fish and even poultry can offer important cardiac, digestive and blood sugar stabilizing benefits. The flexibility of the plant-based diet makes it a sustainable option for a healthy lifestyle.