Potato and rice protein manages blood sugar better than whey protein

Credit: Mehrshad Rajabi / Unsplash

In a study from the University of Westminster, scientists found that plant-based protein shakes may be potentially viable alternatives to milk-based whey protein shakes, particularly in people with the need for careful monitoring of glucose levels.

The study is the first to show potato and rice proteins can be just as effective at managing appetite and can help better manage blood glucose levels and reduce spikes in insulin compared to whey protein.

Consumer trends in protein intake are on the rise with milk protein derivatives such as whey extensively used in consumer products such as protein shakes, fortified food and beverage products.

There are alternative protein products available for vegetarians and vegans such as soy, rice, wheat and pea proteins but there is a relative lack of evidence on their health benefits in comparison to milk proteins.

In the study, the team measured the blood metabolic response of participants after drinking potato, rice and whey protein shakes.

They also monitored appetite in the following three hours to understand how these drinks may affect the participants’ hunger and their desire to eat.

The team found that vegan protein shakes led to a lower rise in blood insulin compared to whey, while potato protein prevented any rise in insulin.

This may explain the better blood glucose control following consumption of the plant-based protein.

It also poses the question of whether vegan protein shakes are more suitable for people who need to control their blood glucose levels such as diabetic and obese people.

Interestingly, the team found the release of the key appetite-regulating hormone GLP-1 was greater after drinking the whey protein shake.

However, the greater GLP-1 response did not translate to an increased feeling of fullness as there were no differences observed in appetite perception between the three different protein shakes.

The current results shed new light in this area and improve the understanding of how plant-source proteins can be a more sustainable yet nutritionally beneficial food source.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies that flaxseed oil is more beneficial than fish oil to people with diabetes, and heavy cannabis use may decrease the incidence of diabetes.

For more information about diabetes, please see recent studies that blueberries strongly benefit people with metabolic syndrome, and results showing Intermittent fasting could help reverse type 2 diabetes.

The study was conducted by Professor M Gulrez Zariwala et al and published in the journal Nutrients.

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