Living with diabetes can be challenging, especially when it comes to making dietary choices. Many people with diabetes are unsure about whether they can consume protein drinks safely. In this comprehensive guide to best protein drinks for diabetes, we will dispel myths and provide guidance on how protein drinks can be a valuable addition to a diabetic’s diet. Let’s explore the benefits of protein and discover the best protein powders and shakes for diabetes management.
People with diabetes have a fear of what they are eating, in order not to hurt themselves. Sometimes, they have to hide their cravings and stick with a ‘regular diet’, even in cases the food they crave about may not result in a sugar hick or drop.
There are so many false rumors about diabetes food flying around of how diabetics should avoid almost everything, including proteins.
But there is hope, as this write-up will expose why you should eat protein, and why some types of protein you eat can be perfectly safe.
Let’s start the Guide to Best Protein Drinks for Diabetics by defining what is a protein, first.
What is Protein?
Protein is one of the major classes of food which is generally classified as macronutrients.
It is found in all cells in the body, and can also be converted into glucose by the body. The effects the ‘conversion’ are rarely noticed except when carbohydrate consumption is low.
Carbohydrate is broken down into glucose rapidly, compared to protein.
Owing to this, Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients have to be conscious and alert to the effects of high protein meals, as this will go a long way in keeping them out of harm regardless the main cause for your diabetes.
While protein does contribute to blood glucose, it is digested more slowly, leading to a gradual and steady rise in blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for diabetics.
Does Protein Raise Blood Sugar Level?
There have been many controversies, as to whether the proteins can raise blood sugar level.
We are set now to clear your doubt and tell you what you should know.
Aside from carbohydrates, which are the primary sources of glucose, protein also makes some contribution to blood glucose.
Proteins don’t digest easily.
After digestion, some of it gets converted to sugar, and most of that sugar remains in the liver.
Asides the part of protein being converted to sugar, some of the glucose gotten from protein gets stored as hepatic glycogen, but does not contribute to raising how hepatic glucose is being released.
Can People with Diabetes Drink Protein Drinks, Shakes or Smoothies?
Are you in love with your protein drinks? But then you developed diabetes, and you are scared of whether to continue?
Here we will talk about your questions regarding consuming protein drinks; whether you should go ahead with taking your protein drinks or not.
The body does not have control over the blood sugar level in diabetic patients.
Therefore, adequate dietary choices should be made in order to manage the glucose level.
It has been noted that carbohydrate causes a high sugar level, this can be harmful to the body, owing to the fact that proteins take longer to digest. This will lead to a gradual and steady rise in blood sugar, which keeps the individual at a ‘safe state’.
Protein is highly important for the human body structure, as it contributes to the adequate functioning of cells. They help in muscle repair, and maintenance contributes to hormones, antibodies and enzymes.
Although the body produces proteins, a large amount should also come from the diet.
Protein drink can be advised for type 2 diabetic patients when they are overweight or obese.
Tip: Our favorite diabetes-friendly smoothie’s receipts in our earlier article. Just follow the link.
Thanks to the long duration protein take before it is fully digested, it offers some level of satisfaction and makes the individual feel ‘full’. This can help with weight loss. This can be highly efficient when protein is used to replace carbohydrates and fats.
Diabetic patients who are athletes are advised to take protein shake as it helps them maintain the protein level.
Since protein drinks are recommended to a certain degree, patients are advised to check the protein contents, as packaged protein drinks usually contain a high sugar level.
When Should Diabetics Not Drink Protein Drinks?
As stated earlier, protein drinks can contain high sugar level.
Aside from sugar, protein drinks contain other ingredients which may not be suitable for health, especially for someone fights with diabetes.
- Additional things which generate sweetness (artificial sweetness)
- Refined oil
- Colors and flavorings, which are artificial.
Tip: Did you know that Essential Oils can help you manage diabetes better?
So, in cases where the above listed are noticed, diabetics should try as much as possible to avoid protein drinks.
Furthermore, the daily recommended intake of protein is between 0.8 – 2.0g of protein per kg of body weight.
Because excess or increased protein intake increases the risk of certain health conditions, which includes the following.
- Increase the calcium level in urine, which may, in turn, lead to kidney stones,
- impairment of liver function,
- increased risk of cancer,
- diarrhea or even constipation,
- excessive weight gain.
It is advisable not to take protein drinks when there is high protein consumption.
Diabetics with kidney disease should also decrease their intake of protein drinks and consult their doctor before incorporating protein drinks into their diet.
Types of Protein Powder and the Best Types for People with Diabetes
Here are some top protein powders and their unique features:
|Protein Powder||Unique Features|
|1. Whey Protein||High absorption rate, aids in muscle repair, various flavors available.|
|2. Casein Protein||Slow digestion, promotes prolonged muscle growth.|
|3. Egg White Protein||High amino acid content, supports lean muscle growth.|
|4. Collagen Protein||Supports collagen production, derived from grass-fed cows.|
|5. Plant-based Protein||Suitable for vegans and lactose-intolerant individuals.|
And, below I have provided a general comparison of each type of protein powder. Please note this is a general guide only, and some details can change from powder brand to brand. The below sections on each powder will go into more detail too.
|Protein Powder||Calories per Serving||Protein (g)||Carbohydrates (g)||Sugars (g)||Fat (g)||Fiber (g)|
|Egg White Protein||110||23||2||0||0||0|
1. Whey Protein Powder
Whey protein has a high rate of absorption and digestion, and this has a strong tendency to make you feel full and energized.
For people that engage in a workout, whey protein is a good choice.
It has a high content of milk.
There are different types of whey protein, such as ‘Protein milkshake organic grass-fed protein powder’.
Properties of Whey Protein Powder
- It is very low in carbohydrate.
- Highly recommended for those who want to get slim.
- It improves the tonality of the muscles.
- There is no additional sugar contained in this powder.
- The powder is made up of different flavors ranging from vanilla, chocolate, etc.
E.g., SFH Pure Whey Protein Powder
This has a vanilla flavor.
Properties of SFH Pure Whey Protein
- It has a ‘grey’ taste.
- It makes absorption easier.
- Devoid of soy.
- Does not contain artificial ingredients.
- Highly recommended for people who needs to increase muscle tonality.
2. Casein Protein Powder
Properties of Casein Protein Powder
- It has a slow rate of absorption and digestion, which tends to keep people full for a longer time.
- This can enhance the growth of muscles for more prolonged periods.
Examples include; Basic supplement casein protein which is:
ü Devoid of flaws
ü Helps in building muscle
- It is a very reliable source of calcium.
3. Egg White Protein Powder
This protein powder has a high content of amino acids. It contributes to improving muscles that are lean and devoid of strength. It helps in repairing worn-out muscles.
Tip: Amino Acids can help with anxiety, depression and low mood.
Examples include; MRM Egg White Protein
Features of Egg White Protein Powder
- Lack of dairy and gluten content
- No antibiotics and hormones
- It mixes well with other drinks.
4. Collagen Protein Powder
Collagen is a core component of the muscles.
Presence of collagen in the body helps stimulate the growth of muscles after a series of exercises.
Example, Wills Nutrition Pure Collagen Peptides.
Properties of Collagen Protein Powder
- Devoid of dairy and gluten.
- Sourced are usually from cows, which mainly feed on grass.
- It stimulates collagen production
5. Plant-based Protein Products
This includes rice, pea, etc.
They are highly recommended for people who are vegans and reacts to lactose (e.g. lactose intolerance).
Protein Powder and Shakes for Type 2 vs. Type 1 Diabetics – What To Consider?
The number of people live with Diabetes increases rapidly in the world, and it is generally characterized by increased blood glucose level.
Diabetes is generally believed to be accompanied by overweight and obesity. Because of this, if you are diabetic and overweight, it must be very carefully managed to avoid harmful complications.
It is highly advisable that people with diabetes take their medications timely, and be at alert, on their blood glucose level.
Although proteins shakes are recommended for people with diabetes, it is advisable that patients’ source for a well-balanced meal each day.
Your well-balanced meal could range from whole grains, nuts and legumes, protein (lean) fresh vegetables that are devoid of starch and fresh flour.
For type 2 diabetics, some of the best protein shakes for weight loss has a high content of calories. Its carbohydrates must be low, while protein is high.
As they are keeping your blood sugar level on an average scale, they may also be contributing to weight gain, especially if you do not check the number of calories they consume each day.
Diabetics with non-functional kidney diseases should be careful of the protein being consumed.
Consulting a doctor before incorporating any protein diet will go a long way in keeping you safe.
After all, It is also crucial for all diabetics to maintain a well-balanced diet, including whole grains, nuts, and fresh vegetables.
Serving and Mixing Tips for Powder and Shakes
There is a high level of satisfaction that comes with protein powders when mixed in to form a shake.
Here are guidelines and tips to follow when mixing your powder and shakes.
1. Read all the directions in the label and follow accordingly.
This will help you to determine how many times you will scoop and the quality and quantity need for each serving. This recommendation may vary, brand to brand and product to product.
2. Choose the liquid that suits your taste and meets your dietary needs and appropriate mixing method.
Aside from using water, like mostly recommended by many manufacturers, you could also use milk of various types, coffee, yogurt etc.
You then have to choose the best equipment for mixing.
You could use a spoon, a fork when it is a plain shake or if there are other additions you can use a blender.
3. Measure and add in halves.
After the measurement, pour the liquid into a glass or into anything you can choose to use.
Follow instructions on the label correctly.
When using the cold liquid, you can add half of the needed protein powder.
When mixing with hot liquid ranging from coffee or tea, convert the powder into a paste before pouring it into the liquid.
4. You can now shake or stir.
Shake rigorously depending on the equipment you are using.
When the mixture settles or rests for about a minute, add the other protein powder that remained to the container.
Keep shaking or blending till you eliminate all lumps, bearing in mind that all proteins don’t have the same level of dissolution.
Here is the dietary recommendations for people with diabetes.
|Food Group||Recommended Servings per Day|
|Whole Grains||4-6 servings|
|Fresh Vegetables||3-5 servings|
|Fresh Fruits||2-4 servings|
|Lean Proteins||2-3 servings|
|Nuts and Legumes||2-3 servings|
|Dairy (low-fat)||2-3 servings|
Tips For Choosing The Right Protein Shake
Here are the tips in a table.
|Consideration||Tips and Recommendations|
|Carbohydrate Content||Opt for protein shakes with low or zero carbohydrates to help manage blood sugar levels.|
|Protein Source||Choose protein powders made from high-quality sources, such as whey, casein, or plant-based proteins.|
|Nutritional Profile||Check the label for additional nutrients like vitamins and minerals to support overall health.|
|Sugar and Additives||Avoid protein shakes with added sugars, artificial flavors, and other unnecessary additives.|
|Consult a Doctor||If you have any medical conditions, especially kidney disease, consult your doctor before consuming protein shakes.|
5 Best Protein Powders for Diabetics
1. SlimFast Diabetic Weight Loss Mix
This is highly recommended for people with type 2 diabetics who are in a weight management care plan.
SlimFast has undergone so many clinical tests, which has confirmed it suitable for people living with type 2 diabetes.
This is a special formula that helps, manage blood glucose as part of a balanced diet. It is a delicious meal replacement that you can drink every day.
This mix is a formula specially made to help maintain blood glucose as it pertains to a balanced diet.
It can be used for replacement of other delicious meal, with about 10g protein, no added sugar and high fiber – this is very suitable for people living with type 2 diabetes as it helps them lose weight.
With slim fast, those of issues of glucose can meet their nutritional needs and satisfy their sweet cravings.
Not minding what you’re snacking on, slim fast has your satisfaction in mind as it can supplement for all the sweetness other harmful snacks could have potentially given you.
Slim fast contains wonderful flavors like nutty caramel and peanut butter cup.
This powder makes it easy for you to manage carbohydrates and sugar.
2. Orgain Organic Sweet Vanilla Bean Protein
This is very delicious and smooth. It is gluten-free and soy-free.
There are no added flavors, colors or preservatives.
Mixing this particular shake powder with water or milk could keep you active throughout the day.
There is the presence of organic Orgain plants based vanilla bean protein powder, about 21g of organic plant-based protein example; brown rice, and about 5g of organic dietary fiber with no sugar.
There is no gluten, dairy products or lactose here and there are no artificial ingredients.
For a quick breakfast or snack drink, it can be mixed with water or any protein shake recipe.
Tip: We have a mixed feeling about BelVita Biscuits as a breakfast for people with diabetes. Follow the link to learn why.
It could be used while baking to boost energy. I
t is highly recommended for men, women, and kids. It is also great for meal replacement, and it could be used for muscle recovery.
It doesn’t contain soy, gluten and artificial flavors or preservatives.
3. MusclePharm 100% Whey Isolate Protein
This has a high content of whey protein isolate, which aids easy digestion and helps to meet the daily protein needs of people.
It gives off protein very fast in order to boost muscle protein synthesis.
It has zero fat, it does not contain carbohydrates or sugar, and it is free from gluten. There is no artificial dye, and there is no synthetic ingredient.
In other words, it contains everything one would ever need in a protein shake.
o It is the most potent pure isolate protein powder
o It uses low-temperature microfiltration.
o It contains pure protein, zero carbohydrates and zero fat.
o The pure protein makes room for muscle rebuilding.
4. Now Sports Pea Protein Powder
Peas are highly recommended for provision of bioavailable protein. They do not belong to dietary allergens. This makes it very perfect for athletes in supplementing other types of protein after a workout.
It is pure, does not contain flavor and could be mixed with other beverages without compromise.
o It is easily digestible.
o It contains abundant amino acids and arginine.
o It is highly tested and approved for human consumption.
o It helps in muscle building and repair.
o It is a key component of a healthy diet and serves as an exercise program.
o It keeps individuals full for an extended period of time and helps in weight management.
5. Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder
It contains pure protein without carbohydrates. This keeps you satisfied without giving rise to unwanted excess weight.
Depending on the individuals, some could go for zero carbohydrates while others could choose low carbs which contain zero sugar.
Tip: Here are the Best Vitamins for Diabetics.
It does not contain gluten, lactose or unwanted impurities.
It is made with the complete microfiltration process. When dissolved in water, it appears a clear milk protein.
It could be mixed with other flavors to give a wonderful recipe.
It is best consumed after strenuous activities or post work out and best consumed in the morning.
o It provides excellent support to muscles.
o It helps people watching their calorie content as a result of zero carbohydrates.
o It is suitable for people undergoing keto.
o It is devoid of gluten and lactose.
o It helps people managing their weight by providing a great number of calories.
Choosing the right protein shake is vital for diabetic individuals seeking to manage blood sugar levels and maintain overall health. Here is the summery of recommended protein shakes in a table:
|Protein Shake||Unique Features|
|1. SlimFast Diabetic Weight Loss Mix||Supports blood glucose management, low in carbohydrates, high in fiber.|
|2. Orgain Organic Sweet Vanilla Bean Protein||Gluten-free, soy-free, no artificial additives.|
|3. MusclePharm 100% Whey Isolate Protein||Pure whey protein isolate, no carbohydrates or fat.|
|4. Now Sports Pea Protein Powder||Easily digestible, high in branched-chain amino acids.|
|5. Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder||Zero carbohydrates, ideal for keto dieters.|
2 Best Protein Shakes for Diabetics
1. Pure Protein Ready To Drink Shake
Due to the ability of the protein to improve muscle and strength, it is highly linked to why athletes with a ‘shake lifestyle’ perform well in a variety of sports.
With a high protein intake, one would be fit to perform, no matter how hard the competition is.
It contains all the major amino acids the body needs in order to improve muscle and strength when mixed with a balanced diet.
Pure protein shakes were manufactured in order to make up for the protein needs and leave you with a variety of options for your pre and post work out sessions.
- Because of its 35g content, it is highly suitable for developing lean muscles and strength while providing a wonderful taste.
- It is a source of calcium which keeps you active throughout the day.
- It provides adequate nutrients needed for a balanced diet.
- It is made with water, both natural and artificial flavors, soybean oil, salt
Tip: Chinen salt is a better option for diabetics than table salt.
2. Boost Glucose Control High Protein
This protein shake is especially for people with type 2 diabetes. It adds to their balanced diet and helps them maintain a good blood sugar level.
Boost helps support lean muscles and helps in hunger management.
It contains zero carbohydrates and about 25% vitamins and minerals.
Its contents include;
- milk protein,
- natural and artificial flavor,
- vanilla bean extract etc.
Protein drinks can be taken by people with diabetes if properly guided. Therefore, it is advised that all diabetes patients should frequently visit a doctor or dietitian for a preferred choice, or can stick to any of our recommended protein drinks.