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Whey and guar gum: unlikely heroes for people with diabetes

Effect of a lose dose whey/guar preload on glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes- a randomized controlled trial.

Study under review: Effect of a low dose whey/guar preload on glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes - a randomized controlled trial

Introduction

Avoiding blood sugar spikes is a critical part of managing type 2 diabetes, since excess glucose in the blood can harm a variety of tissues in the body, from your eyes all the way down to your toes. While a variety of pharmaceutical and supplement options can help reduce blood sugar spikes, another effective option is right there in your food. Protein, fat, and fiber have all been found to lower glycemic response[1] when consumed as part of a meal.

However, the problem with adding lots of fat to a meal in an effort to improve glycemic response is that because fat is calorically dense, the caloric content of the meal increases significantly. If this added fat doesn't increase satiety enough to result in lower caloric intake at subsequent meals and snacks, weight gain can result. People with type 2 diabetes often face health issues due to extra body fat, so they have to be careful with calorie intake. Some supplements on the market are intended to emulate dietary fat’s ability to increase satiety, but not all of them are effective.

The study under review aimed to determine the effectiveness of a low-calorie (80 calories per serving) drink made up of whey protein and guar gum. Guar is a soluble fiber supplement derived from the guar bean plant. Previous studies have examined the effect of whey protein and various fibers, like pectin and guar, on glycemic control. For example, a 55 gram whey protein preload[2] has been shown to lower glucose by 3 mmol/L (54 mg/dL) in those with type 2 diabetes. In a previous study, guar delayed gastric emptying and decreased both glucose and insulin levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a drink containing guar (five grams) along with a lower dose of whey (17 grams) and lactose (three grams) on glycemic control. The type of whey wasn’t specified in the paper, so the lactose may have been part of a whey concentrate, or added separately for an unspecified reason.

The researchers hypothesized that the whey/guar combo would be as effective at lowering blood glucose as a larger 55 gram whey alone drink. This would mean around a 1 mmol/L (18 mg/dL) decrease in blood glucose, which would be a substantial reduction for type 2 diabetics or those at risk of the condition.

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Other Articles in Issue #02 (December 2014)