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Is protein powder good for diabetics?

Protein powder can be beneficial for diabetics, but it's important to choose the right type and incorporate it appropriately into a diabetes management plan. Protein is an essential nutrient that does not directly raise blood glucose levels and can help manage hunger and maintain lean muscle mass.

Whey protein, in particular, has been studied for its potential benefits in diabetes management. Research suggests that whey protein can help regulate blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion, which may improve the body's ability to manage glucose. This is especially useful when consumed before meals1. However, diabetics should be cautious with protein powders that contain added sugars or artificial sweeteners, as these can impact blood glucose levels.

Plant-based protein powders, such as those derived from peas or rice, are also good options as they typically have lower glycemic indexes and do not contain lactose, which can be a concern for some individuals. These proteins provide essential amino acids without the potential to cause significant blood sugar spikes2.

It is crucial for diabetics to monitor their overall protein intake as part of their dietary management. Excessive protein, especially from animal sources, may put additional strain on the kidneys, which can be a concern for those with existing kidney issues related to diabetes3.

Before adding protein powder to a diabetic diet, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian. They can provide guidance tailored to individual health needs, ensuring that the use of protein powder supports overall diabetes management and health goals4.

References:

  1. Frid, A. H., Nilsson, M., Holst, J. J., & Björck, I. M. E. (2005). Effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin responses to composite breakfast and lunch meals in type 2 diabetic subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 82(1), 69-75.
  2. Thompson, S. V., Winham, D. M., & Hutchins, A. M. (2018). Bean and rice meals reduce postprandial glycemic response in adults with type 2 diabetes: a cross-over study. Nutrients, 10(4), 1-12.
  3. Kalantar-Zadeh, K., & Fouque, D. (2017). Nutritional management of chronic kidney disease. New England Journal of Medicine, 377(18), 1765-1776.
  4. American Diabetes Association. (2021). Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2021.
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