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Proc Nutr Soc. 2018 Feb;77(1):42-51. doi: 10.1017/S0029665117002002. Epub 2017 Sep 25.

The role of whey protein in postprandial glycaemic control.

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Human Nutrition Research Centre,Institute of Cellular Medicine,Faculty of Medical Sciences,Newcastle University,Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH,UK.
School of Biomedical Sciences,Faculty of Medical Sciences,Newcastle University,Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH,UK.


Epidemiological studies demonstrate that poor glycaemic control is an independent risk factor for CVD. Postprandial glycaemia has been demonstrated as a better predictor of glycated Hb, the gold standard of glycaemic control, when compared with fasting blood glucose. There is a need for more refined strategies to tightly control postprandial glycaemia, particularly in those with type 2 diabetes, and nutritional strategies around meal consumption may be effective in enhancing subsequent glycaemic control. Whey protein administration around meal times has been demonstrated to reduce postprandial glycaemia, mediated through various mechanisms including an enhancement of insulin secretion. Whey protein ingestion has also been shown to elicit an incretin effect, enhancing the secretion of glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide and glucagon-like peptide-1, which may also influence appetite regulation. Acute intervention studies have shown some promising results however many have used large dosages (50-55 g) of whey protein alongside high-glycaemic index test meals, such as instant powdered potato mixed with glucose, which does not reflect realistic dietary strategies. Long-term intervention studies using realistic strategies around timing, format and amount of whey protein in relevant population groups are required.


AUC area under curve; BCAA branched-chain amino acids; DPP-IV dipeptyl peptidase-IV; GI glycaemic index; T2D type 2 diabetes; Hyperglycaemia; Postprandial metabolism; Whey protein

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