The Whey for Type 2 Diabetes
Few (if any) “food hacks” pertaining specifically to Type 2 diabetics are as steeped in science as this one: Take whey protein 30 minutes before a meal.
It’s more than just a hypothesis, a theory, or wishful thinking. Multiple studies have shown that, when consumed before a meal, whey protein helps reduce blood glucose levels by slowing gastric emptying, stimulating insulin release, and activating certain gut hormones. In addition, pre-meal whey protein is also widely accepted to increase feelings of satiety (ie, feeling more full). This can go a long way in helping you eat less at a given meal to aid weight loss and keep blood sugar levels in check.
The research is even pretty cut and dry on how much whey protein to consume and how long before a meal to consume it. Let’s dive into the science a bit…
The ideal time to take your whey appears to be 30 minutes before a meal. This timeframe has been used in multiple studies with beneficial effects.
As for how much whey protein to have a half-hour prior to eating, the research points to some pretty specific doses. One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed better insulin release following a meal in subjects who consumed 18 grams of whey versus those who had only 9 grams, 4.5 grams, or no whey protein at all.
Another study, this one in the Journal of Clinical Nutrition, showed that individuals taking 20 grams and 40 grams of whey protein 30 minutes before eating pizza had a more suppressed appetite than those taking 5 grams or 10 grams.
And yet another study using Type 2 diabetic subjects (and published in Diabetes Care) showed that a 55-gram dose of whey protein taken 30 minutes before a meal slowed gastric emptying, stimulated insulin release, and reduced post-meal blood glucose levels (as compared to no pre-meal whey consumption).
To some, these pre-meal doses may seem all over the map, but the three studies – all of which are summed up nicely in a 2015 review published in the World Journal of Diabetes – illustrate a fairly tight range of 18-55 grams. Seeing is that a vast majority of protein powders offer serving sizes of 20-25 grams of protein per scoop (1 scoop of Swee2ooth = 20 grams), the evidence is pretty clear: 1 or 2 scoops of Swee2ooth consumed 30 minutes before a meal is the ticket.