For years, health experts have claimed that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now, studies back this up, especially for those with chronic diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. The research shows that a high protein breakfast has been proven to reduce obesity and diabetes.
The food industry — not pharmaceuticals — could hold the key to reducing the occurrence of diabetes and its strain on the healthcare system, as well as its financial strain on those with the disease.
As you might expect, the quality of the food offered is a crucial aspect. Let’s look at the impact of diabetes on the U.S. population as well as findings of various studies and considerations for food manufacturers as they formulate products for an increasing number of health-conscious consumers — especially those facing the debilitating and life-threatening disease of diabetes.
Financial Impact of Diabetes
The average annual medical cost associated with diabetes is nearly $10,000 for individuals — 2.3 times higher than for those without diabetes. Not included in this figure are the overall indirect costs associated with the disease, which totaled $327 billion in 2017. Here’s the breakdown:
- Increased absenteeism ($3.3 billion)
- Reduced productivity while at work ($26.9 billion) for the employed population
- Reduced productivity for those not employed ($2.3 billion)
- Inability to work as a result of disease-related disability ($37.5 billion)
Sadly, there are an estimated 277,000 premature deaths attributed to diabetes in the U.S. each year, resulting in an additional $19.9 billion in lost productive capacity.
Findings of Diabetes-Related Studies
Canadian researchers conducted a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science exploring the difference between consuming regular milk and high-protein milk containing higher levels of whey during breakfast.
The results found that milk containing more whey protein releases gastric hormones that slow the digestion of carbohydrates, helps maintain lower blood sugar levels and improves satiety, which leads to eating less later in the day. All of these factors can reduce the risks of obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Other studies support these findings. An Israeli study showed that participants who consumed mostly whey protein during breakfast had lower glucose levels after meals and experienced greater weight loss over a 12 week period. This is compared to diets that contained other proteins or those high in carbohydrates or starch. The results also showed that HbA1C levels decreased more for those consuming a diet containing higher levels of whey protein compared to other diets.
“Whey protein powder,” the authors wrote, “which is a byproduct of milk during cheese production, induced greater satiety and reduction of glucose spikes after meals compared to other protein sources, such as eggs, soy or tuna.”
The Bottom Line
For most, the best strategy for managing Type 2 diabetes is not found in another prescription medication; rather in losing weight — an achievable goal. There are many accounts of overweight individuals who once required daily insulin and costly prescriptions to manage their diabetes, yet were able to completely reverse the disease and eventually discontinue medications once they achieved a healthy weight.
Offering breakfast products with less sugar and higher levels of protein is a proven strategy for weight loss, and research now proves that whey protein is the ideal source of protein that should be included in formulations.
As a producer of whey protein ingredients that are available in various forms, Grande Custom Ingredients Group can help any food manufacturer find innovative ways to incorporate this highly beneficial ingredient into almost any application. Whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein and more can be included in multiple applications — from breakfast bars to bakery to beverages.
There are many more reasons to use whey protein in your formulations, including cost savings, improved nutrition, texture, flavor and its ease of use. In fact, check out our Top 10 Reasons to Use Whey Protein resource below to understand its various benefits. Then contact our food scientists to see how functional whey protein can be used in your applications.