By: Robbie Durand
Whey Protein Breakfast
Whey is seen as a more attractive protein for use as a dietary supplement compared to casein, egg protein, tuna, or soy protein due to differences in the amino acid composition and absorption kinetics. Whey protein powder, which is a byproduct of milk during cheese production, induced greater satiety and reduction of glucose spikes after meals compared to other protein sources, such as eggs, soy or tuna. Whey protein has a higher proportion of branched chain amino acids than casein, and is more soluble in the acidic environment of the stomach, leading to more rapid digestion. Hence, it is termed a “fast” protein while casein is a “slow” protein. As a result of greater solubility, more rapid digestion, and resultant higher plasma concentrations of amino acids, whey appears to be a more favorable protein to provide nutritional and functional benefits.
Whey protein is no longer just a bodybuilding post-workout drink; whey protein is gaining recognition as an essential functional health food. Whey protein has also been shown to have beneficial effects for diabetic patients including enhancement of insulin and incretin hormone secretion, slowing of gastric emptying, and reductions in appetite and energy consumption. These properties suggest the potential for whey in the management of type 2 diabetes.
In the newest study reported at the 2016 Endocrine Society randomly assigned 48 overweight and obese participants with Type 2 diabetes who were, on average, 59 years of age, to one of three diets that contained the same number of calories. The subject’s with type 2 diabetes ate the same amount of calories over a large breakfast (660 kcal), medium-sized lunch (567 kcal), and small dinner (276 kcal) for 23 months. Participants in both protein groups ingested 49 grams of protein at breakfast compared with 17 grams in the carbohydrate group. For 23 months, all participants ate a large breakfast, medium-sized lunch, and small dinner, but the breakfast composition, amount, and source of proteins differed among the groups.
-One group ate breakfast containing mostly whey protein such as whey protein shakes,
-the second group ate breakfast containing other proteins including eggs, soy and tuna, and
-the third ate breakfast high in carbohydrates or starch.
After 12 weeks, the group on whey protein lost the most weight: 16.7 pounds, compared to 13.4 pounds for those on the other proteins, and 6.8 pounds for those in the carbohydrate group. Whey protein diet participants were more satiated and less hungry throughout the day, with lower glucose spikes after meals compared to the other two diets, and their HbA1C (i.e. measure of long-term blood glucose levels) also decreased more than with the other two diets. Greater reductions in HbA1c were also noted among these patients, with the percent change being 11.5% for the whey protein group vs. 7.7% for the other protein group and 4.6% in the carbohydrate group. This study demonstrates the importance of consuming a high-quality whey protein drink at breakfast. Additionally, compared to whey protein vs. other protein sources, whey protein yields additional benefits on weight loss, overall satiety, reduction of post-prandial glucose and HbA1c (i.e. measure of long-term blood glucose control). Whey protein should be considered an important therapy in the management of type 2 diabetes.
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