The Benefit Of Eating Whey Powder Before A Meal

Whether you have a few hours until dinner with friends or you need something in your stomach after a tough workout, a good, healthy snack can help you avoid overindulging at your next meal. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, snacking between meals can provide nutrients you might miss at your main meals.

Although many choices for snacks might include nuts, yogurt, fruit, or cheese, whey protein might be an option you haven't considered. According to the National Association of Sports Medicine, protein not only helps you feel full, but your body works harder to digest protein than carbohydrates and fat. In other words, it takes more calories to digest protein. Whey protein could not only help you lose weight but eating whey protein before a meal could also reduce a spike in your blood sugar after your main meal, according to a 2023 systematic review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. That's good news for people with type 2 diabetes.

Whey protein lowers post-meal blood sugar levels

The research review pulled the results of 16 trials involving 244 total people, including healthy adults and people with metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes. When people consumed whey protein before a meal, their peak blood sugar was lower compared to people who didn't have whey protein. Whey protein also results in lower blood sugar up to an hour after a meal. The effect of whey protein on blood sugar had more of an effect on people with type 2 diabetes, obesity, or other metabolic conditions. Whey protein could put a lid on blood sugar for up to two hours for people with type 2 diabetes.

Whey protein increases GLP-1 and GIP hormones, which stimulate insulin from the pancreas. The researchers believe this increase in the GLP-1 hormone helps slow the food emptying in the stomach, which could also help with the reduction in blood sugar. Although adding whey protein to the diet will increase the total calories for the day, the study said that people's weight remained stable because they ate fewer calories in their meals and had less of an appetite.

Other benefits of adding whey protein

According to Healthline, whey is a good source of protein because it has all the essential amino acids your body needs to synthesize body protein. Combined with a quality strength training program, whey protein can help stave off any muscle loss as you age. A 2018 article in Nutrition Reviews found that having a protein supplement with your meals not only helps build lean body mass but also improves your body composition by increasing your muscle-to-fat ratio.

People with high blood pressure might turn to whey protein to help lower systolic blood pressure due to the ACE inhibitors found in whey. Whey might also help your body fight off free radicals while reducing inflammation, which can increase your risk for chronic health conditions (via Healthline).

If you decide to add more protein to your diet, remember to consider your total calories for the day, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Some whey protein powders have more calories than others, especially those with added sugars and other processed ingredients. You'll also want to consume whey protein in moderation since your body can't process more than about 40 grams of protein in a single meal. Be sure to find a whey protein that has a quality seal from the NSF or other certification programs because some might have metals or other contaminants that aren't on the label.