Whey Protein & Diabetes: Increasing Insulin Response

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Diabetes is a condition that affects the way your body manages blood sugar. This often means that sugary foods and sugars from alcohol cannot be metabolised properly, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. This is linked to an insulin resistance which prevents blood glucose from being removed from the blood stream properly, which if left unmanaged can lead to cardiovascular complications.

It is quite common for people with diabetes to ask about the use of protein supplements and the potential impact they might have on their health – and more specifically how a protein shake may affect their blood sugar.


A number of research experiments have been undertaken recently to identify the effect of whey on blood glucose and insulin response for people with Type 2 Diabetes.

Protein consumption is known to stimulate the production of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), a gut hormone that in turn stimulates insulin production. The professors (from 3 separate Universities – working collaboratively) hypothesized that stimulating GLP-1 production by consuming whey before a meal would therefore improve the body’s blood sugar control following a meal.

The study itself included 15 people with well-controlled type 2 diabetes who were on basic medication at the time and a test was laid out whereby the participants would consume, on two separate days, whey protein or placebo (water) followed by a high GI breakfast with sugar-containing jelly, with a view to create maximum post-meal glucose spike.


Results were fairly conclusive and showed that glucose levels were reduced by 28% after whey protein was ingested prior to eating. Insulin and C-peptide responses were both significantly higher too (by 105% and 43% respectively) in the whey protein group vs. the placebo.

In summary, consumption of whey protein shortly before a high GI meal can help to increase early and post-meal insulin secretion, improved GLP-1 responses and reduced post-meal blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients. Why not try one of our Pure Whey Proteins and see how you get on? We have a wide range of different flavours to choose from.

The professors are now considering a longer-term clinical trial to discover if these benefits are long-lasting.



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