A small whey protein drink taken 10 minutes before meals can significantly lower 24-hour mean blood glucose concentration and increase the amount of time people with diabetes spend in euglycaemia (normal blood sugar levels), according to new research from Newcastle University, writes Dr Sheena Meredith, MB BS, MPhil and reported in MedscapeUK.
The Newcastle researchers conducted a study amongst 18 people with Type 2 diabetes who were aged 50 on average, had had diabetes for a mean 6 years and had a mean baseline HbA1c level of 7.4. They were given ready-to-drink 100 ml whey protein shots ,each containing 15.6 g protein to take 10 minutes before breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The results, published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care, showed that the pre-meal protein supplement significantly reduced the prevalence of daily hyperglycaemia and increased the amount of time spent in euglycaemia by around two hours per day on average. Such an increase is considered clinically significant and may reduce the risk of vascular complications.
The authors believe that the technique “holds potential for dietary management of the condition” and that the results “may hold important implications for the management of hyperglycemia”. Newcastle University PhD student, Kieran Smith, who oversaw the glucose monitoring and analysed the data, said: “People were able to stick to the regime and liked the idea of having a convenient, tasty, small pre-made drink that could be carried with them and taken before meals.
The team now intends to explore the benefits of pre-meal protein supplementation in a larger-scale study and for a longer period of up to six months, and to look at alternative proteins, such as those from plant sources like peas, fungi and potatoes.
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