From time to time, research suggests that consumption of milk and dairy products may help prevent weight gain or obesity or even prevent type 2 diabetes. Whey protein accounts for 30 percent of total protein in milk and the remaining 70 percent is casein. Whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrates are commonly used by bodybuilders.
The authors, D. Jakubowicz and O. Froy of Tel Aviv University in Israel, say that recent studies have shown whey protein has beneficial insulinotropic and glucose-lowering properties in both healthy and type 2 diabetes individuals.
Whey protein releases bioactive peptides and amino acids upon being digested in the gastrointestinal tract. These amino acids and peptides promote the release of several gut hormones including cholecystokinin, peptide YY and the incretins gastric inhibitory peptide, and glucagon-like peptide 1 that potentiate insulin secretion from β-cells and are linked with regulation of food intake.
Additionally, these whey protein derived bioactive peptides may also function as endogenous inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) in the proximal gut, preventing incretin degradation, which is good for type 2 diabetes management.
Recent research identified DPP-4 inhibitors in whey protein hydrolysates, which confirms that the anti-obesity and anti-diabetic properties are not pure speculation or observation.
Whey protein in forms of whey protein hydrolysates and whey protein concentrate is available as a dietary supplement. In addition to their potential benefits for people with type 2 diabetes, these products can help maintain muscle health including help repair muscle damage induced during physical exercise. For individuals who do not use animal products yet want to maintain muscle health, they may use supplements of branched chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are helpful when a person uses a protein-restricted diet.
Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, published online Sept 2012