Measuring insulin response to whey protein

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created September 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM

I has been mentioned here, and elsewhere too, that the best way to go is via a glucometer. If I am insulin-resistant, the meter should show excess sugar after consuming some insulinogenic protein:


My question is about the exact mechanics of this rationale. Since whey is just protein and does not contain carbohydrate, if insulin gets elevated because of it I would expect sugar levels in the blood to crash and not spike, as the replies to the above question seem to suggest.

So what is the exact logic behind testing blood sugar to measure insulin response to protein and expecting a sugar spike if I am IR? Where is the glucose going to come from since protein does not contain it? Is the liver going to kick into accelerated gluconeogenesis because whey is fast-absorbing, and this is what causes the insulin spike? Or is insulin secretion triggered via some other path

Or is it that we are really interested in the sugar level 'delta' that consuming whey will generate, either high, or low, and based on it draw our insulin secretion conclusions? If so, what would be an acceptable 'sugar delta' for whey not to pose a problem?



on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Is it possible that whey protein is easily converted by the liver to glucose by gluconeogenesis? You don't say if you are on a ketogenic diet.



on September 19, 2011
at 11:01 AM

@Deb: possibly yes, as I am going through Dr.K's leptin reset right now and my carb intake is very low, definitely below 50g. But my question was really about the mechanics of why to expect a glucose delta or glucose spike, if they are known, as I can't reconcile the protein->glucose spike in the absence of carbs without gluconeogenesis.



on September 18, 2011
at 04:06 PM

well poised question Laney, and you did your search beforehand too. mark sisson wrote about whey (and other dairy) causing insulin secretion a while back and it was a nice read. I don't know if it answers your particular question here though.



on September 18, 2011
at 02:22 PM

Whey has bcca that are insulinogenic. Leucine is an example. It will make your Bg skyrocket if tou are a t2d. Check it out and watch.

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4 Answers

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on September 18, 2011
at 10:15 PM


I asked a similar question. I think it is more that it is a dairy product that raises bg than the fact that it is liquid although as a type 1 diabetic I've noticed that excess protein just gets converted to glucose. I think we notice it more with the liquid form than solid form because it requires less digestion. The more solid forms that are consumed in excess are converted at a more gradual rate so there is time for the body to adjust insulin levels and unless your a type one diabetic you wouldn't be able to detect the change in Bg levels.


on September 19, 2011
at 01:16 AM

I would like to hear more about the science behind whey protein making me feel like crap. The only thing that gives me such a 'crash' (ie reactive hypoglycemia symptoms) is wheat products. :/

I swear I will buy a meter one day soon!



on September 18, 2011
at 11:10 PM

As far as I am aware insulin has more jobs than just the processing of glucose. It is also used to direct protein to muscle cells for synthesis, therefore foods that are high in protein will result in insulin spikes. I don't think that it is to do with glucose. I could be totally wrong, and I am sure someone will correct me.



on September 18, 2011
at 02:52 PM

Here's the best place to get info on blood sugar and how to best do the testing: http://www.phlaunt.com/diabetes/

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