July 27, 2005

Whey supplement helpful for diabetics

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For people with type 2
diabetes, adding whey to high-carbohydrate meals stimulates
insulin release and reduces spikes in blood glucose levels
after meals, according to new findings.

Writing in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dr.
Mikael Nilsson, of Lund University, Sweden, and colleagues say
the reason whey proteins have this effect is not known, but it
may have something to do with particular amino acids and
hormones found in the mild product.

The researchers examined the effect of supplementing high
glycemic index (GI) meals -- that is, readily digested carbs
that cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels -- with whey

A total of 14 individuals with type 2 diabetes were served
a high-GI breakfast (white bread) and subsequent high-GI lunch
(mashed potatoes with meatballs). Whey supplementation was
provided with both meals on one day, and whey was exchanged for
lean ham and lactose on another day.

The investigators took blood samples before and during a
4-hour period after breakfast and 3 hours after lunch in order
to measure blood glucose, insulin, and other factors.

Insulin secretion was higher after both breakfast and lunch
when the meals were supplemented with whey compared to when
whey was not included, although the effect was less pronounced
after breakfast. The rise in blood glucose was significantly
reduced after the lunch meal was supplemented with whey.

The lesser effect on insulin of whey after breakfast, "in
combination with the fact that the insulin resistance may be
higher in the morning after the overnight fast, may explain the
inability of whey to reduce the blood glucose increment after
breakfast," Nilsson's team explains.

SOURCE: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, July 2005.