Whey protein is a natural product, produced as a byproduct of cheese making process. It is most renowned protein supplement used among fitness enthusiasts but is also beneficial for people with certain diseases such as cancer and to some extent, diabetics.
Benefits of Whey for Diabetics:
Protein can be one of the nutrients lacking in some of the diabetics diets and as a result can cause health alterations. Whey protein can be helpful in lowering blood glucose levels as high protein levels have been associated with stimulating insulin production in pancreas.
In addition to this, it is also helpful in weight management and blood pressure control apart from strengthening the immune system. Since whey affects appetite suppressing hormones, it makes you have better control over “hunger pangs” and the urge to eat between meals or even save you from overeating.
If used smartly, whey can work excellently with diabetes however, it is always necessary to consult your dietitian or diabetologist before taking any supplement.
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To maintain a balanced or a positive nitrogen balance in the body, the ideal protein consumption for diabetics is 0.8-1.0 gm. of protein per kg of body weight as the RDA suggests. However, if you are an active individual, your protein requirement may increase depending on the activity levels.
However, whey cannot be used without making certain considerations for diabetes mellitus:
- First and foremost, you will need to consider your overall health status. Whether you have a pre-existing ailment like kidney disease (also known as diabetic nephropathy) which may be an unfavourable condition to be taking additional whey protein. During nephropathy or a case of advanced CKD, the protein intake is limited to even less than the RDA so as to prevent the kidneys from experiencing any load in functioning. Under such circumstances, you need to be very careful with your total protein intake, the source of protein intake and your physical activity levels.
- Allergies and precaution: It is common for some people to be allergic to the lactose present in milk and therefore while considering milk-based protein supplements, it can be a challenge. While for diabetics, it is ideal to avoid protein supplements that would contain lactose and opt for a pure protein containing supplement. Whey protein has 2 major types- concentrate and isolate, out of which WC has small amount of lactose and maybe unsuitable for lactose intolerant diabetics, whereas WI is a microfiltered powder that has no traces of lactose and is safe for use. Although there may be some risk of developing insulin resistance relevant to allergic reactions, this area still needs to be efficiently studied.
- Drug-interactions: Diabetics on oral hypoglycemic drugs or insulin need to be careful while taking whey protein. When taken in combination with glucose lowering drugs, it can lead to hypoglycemia. Interaction with certain drugs like anticoagulants (blood thinners like herparin or warfarin), NSAIDs like certain pain killers, etc. can cause bleeding in some and therefore need to observe caution. If you are taking certain drugs, talk about the possible reactions with your doctor.
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