Can you eat whey protein with diabetes?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat whey protein with diabetes?” and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of eating whey protein with diabetes and why whey protein is good for diabetes.

Can you eat whey protein with diabetes?

Yes, you can eat whey protein with diabetes. Eating whey proteins is not only safe but also advisable for managing diabetes, as demonstrated by several studies (1,2).

In addition to the fast digestion and absorption of carbohydrates in the whey leading to an increased concentration of insulin in the plasma and thus resulting in a lower glycemic level after the meal, the addition of whey in the diet is shown to stimulate the production of insulin in both healthy and diabetic individuals (1).

Why is whey protein good for diabetics?

Whey protein is good for diabetics because it can stimulate the insulin response after food ingestion. The amino acids leucine, isoleucine, valine, lysine and threonine are the most important amino acids in this action.

The effect of whey proteins in lowering the glucose levels in the blood is due to the stimulating effect that some amino acids play on the secretion of hormones which help the insulin release within the pancreatic cells (1,2).

These hormones are the glucagon-like-peptide and glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GIP and GIP-1) hormones and are released after the ingestion of food. Whey proteins can enhance the secretion of these hormones and favor the reduction of the glucose level, with minimum risks of the occurrence of hypoglycemia.

What are the benefits of eating whey protein with diabetes?

The benefits of eating whey protein with diabetes are (1,2,3):

  • Whey protein can favor the release of insulin by stimulating the glucagon-like-peptide-1 and glucagon-like-peptide hormones secretion in the pancreas.
  • Whey proteins can reduce the glucose concentrations after food ingestion due to the delayed gastric emptying 
  • Proteins in the diet can enhance satiety and lead to the reduction of the caloric intake. Especially whey proteins are shown to contribute to a lower food ingestion when added to the diet
  • Whey proteins can suppress hunger and favor the lower caloric intake
  • The ingestion of a higher amount of proteins in the diet favors weight loss
  • The amino acids in whey protein are known to be bioactive and have improved health benefits, such as immunomodulatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial 

What are the drawbacks of eating whey with diabetes?

The possible drawbacks of eating whey with diabetes are for individuals who have lactose intolerance and milk allergies (3).

Whey protein contains lactose in different concentrations, depending on the type. Although whey protein isolates, which have higher amounts of proteins contain less lactose, it is possible that their consumption causes undesirable symptoms in lactose-intolerant individuals, such as diarrhea and bloating.

In addition, milk allergies, although more probable due to the ingestion of casein from milk, can be caused by the ingestion of whey proteins.

What are the risks of eating whey proteins in the long-term?

The risks of eating whey proteins in the long term are damage to liver and kidney (4). 

According to studies, the increased protein level in the diet can overload the function of the liver and kidney, causing damage to these organs in the long term, as the protein is partially converted to urea and the cycle of urea occurs in the liver and its excretion through the kidney.

Other FAQs about Protein Whey that you may be interested in.

Where does whey protein come from

Can you eat whey with celiac disease?

Can you eat whey protein without working out?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat whey protein with diabetes?” and discussed the benefits and drawbacks of eating whey protein with diabetes and why whey protein is good for diabetes.


  1. Jakubowicz, Daniela, and Oren Froy. Biochemical and metabolic mechanisms by which dietary whey protein may combat obesity and Type 2 diabetes. J nutr biochem, 2013, 24, 1-5.
  2. Mignone LE, Wu T, Horowitz M, Rayner CK. Whey protein: The “whey” forward for treatment of type 2 diabetes? World J Diabetes. 2015, 6, 1274-84.
  3. Keri Marshall, N. Therapeutic applications of whey protein. Altern med rev, 2004, 9, 136-156.
  4. Vasconcelos, Quezia Damaris Jones Severino, Tatiana Paschoalette Rodrigues Bachur, and Gislei Frota Aragão. Whey protein supplementation and its potentially adverse effects on health: a systematic review. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, 2021, 46, 27-33.