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Protein powder for Diabetics

Doctors and dieticians around the world now advise the diabetic patient to include protein powders in their diet. Why? Because protein is what the body wants and it is the safest bet for prolonged health. The human body naturally turns to proteins when faced with low glucose levels. The protein contained in the muscles is broken down into amino acids to be converted into glucose by the liver. So, protein powders are the natural way to sustain the glucose levels in a diabetic.

A research done in 2011 by Heather Leidy, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology at the University of Missouri brought forth some interesting facts.  One was that consuming a protein-rich meal suppresses the regions in the brain responsible for food cravings and the motivational drive to eat. This is added good news for diabetics as one of the most constant problems for diabetics is hunger. Protein powder is an easy to use alternative for snacks. While travelling, one can easily carry them and consume at will.

Protein powders are preferred over other types of nutrients to meet the dietary requirements and sustain steady glucose levels in a diabetic because these are the safest with minimum problems over longer periods of time. Carbohydrates and fats cause many problems for the diabetic including organ damage.  A carbohydrate rich diet can result in uncontrolled blood sugar levels causing diabetic retinopathy, neuropathy and kidney failure in course of time. A fat rich diet may increase incidences of atherosclerosis, large vessel disease and cardiac complications.

Diabetes: Incidence and Types

Diabetes, as we know, is a condition in which glucose absorption becomes impaired due to low insulin hormone production from pancreas. The result is glucose is not absorbed and found excessively in bloodstream, creating many health problems later on.

Around 387 Million people are affected by diabetes worldwide. Around 4.7 million deaths are recorded each year due to diabetes related problems. There are broadly three types of diabetes namely Type I wherein the body is incapable of producing any significant amount of insulin, Type II where the body is capable of producing insulin but not in sufficient quantities and Gestational Diabetes where mothers-to-be are diagnosed with diabetes which is mostly sustains only till childbirth. Women who have had Gestational Diabetes are more likely to develop Type II diabetes later on in life.

Diabetes has no known cure. Diabetes can however, be managed well with the right diet, active lifestyle and exercise. Medications and insulin shots are to be taken as prescribed by the doctor. If left uncontrolled, diabetes causes lots of health problems, some of them putting the life at risk. Diabetes can harm the vital organs like heart, kidney, liver and cause problems in eyesight, hearing and nerves.

Diabetic Diet

Diabetes health is mainly self care and management. Diet is one key aspect of this self care. When we speak of diabetic diet, we have think about different types of diabetics, from people who are insulin dependent to mild diabetics. In all of them the diet should be such that the optimum balance with insulin is maintained. Other things like lipid levels of HDL, LDL and triglycerides must also be maintained as much as possible. A balanced diabetic diet should take care of all of the above and allow the diabetic to lead a quality life. Ideally the diabetic may take a meal which has various foods from several protein sources in adequate amounts (30 g) at each meal. But at several times, it is not practical. Protein powders offer a healthy alternative.

Types of Protein powders

protein powderProtein powders have been around for a while. Dieticians have been prescribing these mainly as a food supplement. A number of varieties of protein powders are available in the market like whey protein, soy protein, milk protein, egg protein and rice protein. Each of these has its own advantages and disadvantages. While vegans or vegetarians like soy protein, milk protein is liked by people who want to build muscle. Egg protein is liked by many as it has high amount of protein while whey protein is liked for its high absorption levels. Rice protein causes least allergies. Whey protein powders come in isolate and concentrate form.  Protein powders can be taken by adults and children. It is also good for the old.

Animal proteins, especially those from dairy, are likely to better support muscle protein synthesis and effect improved body composition compared to plant proteins. Protein powders also satiate easily. A 2012 meta-analysis of 22 clinical trials suggests that increased protein intake through milk/whey protein supplements Dietary Dietary  boosts muscle mass and strength during resistance exercise in both younger and older adults.

Of the various protein powders available in the market, Milk protein holds a special place.  Ever wonder why you don’t feel hungry for a long while after you had a glass of milk. The reason is casein, the constituent of Milk protein. In a study by Yves Borie in 1997, it was seen that casein had slow energy releasing qualities.  On consumption, casein forms a gel or clot in the stomach. The clot provides a sustained and slow release of amino acids into the blood stream. The process may take several hours. This means that casein is a very good option for diabetics releasing energy for a longer period of time. The efficiency of casein is bettered with the fact that a slow sustained release of nutrients matches well with the limited amount of insulin that can be produced by the pancreas in diabetes.  So, a protein powder with casein in it is the perfect way to get more energy with less eating and less diet related complications. However, you should not use milk protein if you are allergic to milk or are lactose intolerant.

A study by Parker in 2002 suggests that a high protein diet has been found to decrease fat in women with Type II diabetes.  Thus, we may conclude that consumption of protein powder is not only safe in diabetes, but can also be therapeutic, resulting in improved glycemic control, and decreased risk of complications related to diabetes.


  • November 24, 2016
  • Nattura Biocare Private Limited
  •   Plot No.457, Multi Nagar Main road, Gerugambakkam, Chennai Pincode- 600 128
  •   044-23821918