Lauren Becherer | HealthGreatness

Got milk? Good news for people with type 2 diabetes: a recent study has found that milk whey protein could help control the disease. The research found that this protein could reduce a diabetics’ need for insulin by improving the body’s insulin response.

Scoop of chocolate whey isolate protein in front of protein shaker and its parts

The study, titled “Incretin, insulinotropic and glucose-lowering effects of whey protein pre-load in type 2 diabetes: a randomized clinical trial,” was published in Diabetologia by researchers at Tel Aviv University.

Whey protein concentrate is the watery remainder of milk after the fermentation process to make cheese. The study shows that a whey protein drink before breakfast can alleviate the unstable glucose levels that are associated with type 2 diabetes. The ingredient reduces the body’s need for insulin by reducing the spike of glucose levels that occur in diabetics after meals.

Milk whey protein increases production of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a hormone in the stomach that enhances insulin emission. Because of this, high milk intake is associated with lower risk for type 2 diabetes. This study was based off of this knowledge, with the hypothesis that increasing GLP-1 secretion may lower glucose levels in type 2 diabetics.

Researchers studied 15 patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes. At random, participants were given a mixture of either 50 grams of whey in 250 ml of water or just the water (placebo), followed by a high-glycemic index breakfast. Blood work was analyzed. The results showed a 28 percent reduction in glucose levels in those who consumed whey protein in a 180-minute post-meal period. Insulin responses were 105 percent higher with whey consumption, resulting in a 96 percent surge of early insulin response. Furthermore, the level of GLP-1 was significantly higher with whey pre-load.

The study concludes that “whey protein may therefore represent a novel approach for enhancing glucose-lowering strategies in type 2 diabetes.”