Whey Cool: A Glucose-reducing Solution for Type 2 Diabetes

Israeli-Swedish research team finds that drinking whey before breakfast can improve insulin responses after the meal.


When Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet eating her curds and whey, she had no idea that she may have been helping to control her type 2 diabetes, recent research by an Israeli-Swedish team of scientists suggests.

The team, made up of researchers from Tel Aviv University's Sacker Faculty of Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Lund University found that imbibing a whey drink before breakfast reduces glucose levels, an important strategy in managing type 2 diabetes.

"One of the earliest changes in the development of type 2 diabetes is the loss of early postprandial insulin response, a change which contributes to postprandial hyperglycemia," the authors wrote, referring to the tendency for insulin levels to spike after a meal, in the latest issue of Diabetologia. "Therefore, targeting the early postprandial insulin response is an important glucose-lowering strategy in treating type 2 diabetes."

The researchers took a randomized group of 15 individuals with well-controlled type 2 diabetes taking few if any medications. They used a coin toss to determine who received 50 grams of whey inside a 250 ml glass of water and who received a placebo. The participants than ate a standardized high-glycemic-index breakfast in a hospital setting, the researchers reported. The test was conducted on two separate days.

The scientists found that glucose levels were reduced 28% over the three-hour period following the meal when participants drank the whey solution in advance.
Moreover, the pre-meal concoctions led to significantly higher insulin and C-peptide responses.

The positive results led the scientists to conclude: "Whey protein may therefore represent a novel approach for enhancing glucose-reducing strategies in type 2 diabetes."

The clinical trial was funded by the Israeli Health Ministry and Milk Council.