Whey Protein Premeal Lowers Postprandial Glucose Concentrations in Adults Compared with Water—The Effect of Timing, Dose, and Metabolic Status: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

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Abstract

Background: Serving whey protein before a meal in order to lower postprandial blood glucose concentrations is known as a premeal. The underlying mechanisms are only partly understood but may involve stimulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), and insulin secretion together with a slower gastric emptying rate. Objectives: The objective of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to review all randomized clinical trials investigating premeals with whey protein in comparison with a nonactive comparator (control) that evaluated plasma glucose, GLP-1, GIP, insulin, and/or gastric emptying rate. Secondary aims included subgroup analyses on the timing and dose of the premeal together with the metabolic state of the participants [lean, obese, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)]. Methods: We searched EMBASE, CENTRAL, PUBMED, and clinicaltrials.gov and found 16 randomized crossover trials with a total of 244 individuals. The last search was performed on 9 August, 2022. Results: Whey protein premeals lowered peak glucose concentration by −1.4 mmol/L [−1.9 mmol/L; −0.9 mmol/L], and the area under the curve for glucose was −0.9 standard deviation (SD) [−1.2 SD; −0.6 SD] compared with controls (high certainty). In association with these findings, whey protein premeals elevated GLP-1 (low certainty) and peak insulin (high certainty) concentrations and slowed gastric emptying rate (high certainty) compared with controls. Subgroup analyses showed a more pronounced and prolonged glucose-lowering effect in individuals with T2DM compared with participants without T2DM. The available evidence did not elucidate the role of GIP. The protein dose used varied between 4 and 55 g, and meta-regression analysis showed that the protein dose correlated with the glucose-lowering effects. Conclusions: In conclusion, whey protein premeals lower postprandial blood glucose, reduce gastric emptying rate, and increase peak insulin. In addition, whey protein premeals may elevate plasma concentrations of GLP-1. Whey protein premeals may possess clinical potential, but the long-term effects await future clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume118
Issue2
Pages (from-to)391-405
Number of pages15
ISSN0002-9165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2023

Keywords

  • gastric emptying
  • GIP
  • GLP-1
  • insulin
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity
  • premeal
  • whey protein

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