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Are Protein Shakes Okay For People With Diabetes?
When it comes to those with diabetes, dietary intake needs to be monitored to ensure no long-term issues or complications arise. Carbohydrates are usually brought up when discussing diabetes due to it being a food group that can cause significant rises in blood sugar, but protein is also an important factor to consider. Protein has a longer time period for digestion, whereas carbohydrates - especially processed and refined sugars - don’t take particularly long to digest. A shorter digestion time is what leads to spikes in blood sugar. In this way, protein and protein shakes can be helpful to those with diabetes, helping to maintain a healthy blood sugar level that rises more steadily, but these shakes should only be consumed in moderation due to the high sugar content that they can contain as this can be detrimental to health, especially to those with diabetes. Let’s take a look at some methods of healthily consuming protein shakes for those with diabetes.
Blood Sugar Management
It is important to know that too much protein can lead to increases in your blood sugar levels. Therefore, while protein such as that found in a protein shake can be useful to manage your blood sugar, moderation and monitoring are essential.
An Alternative to Soda and Candy
For those with diabetes, it can be difficult to manage your food and drink consumption due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It can often be easier to just grab something small to snack on to make sure your blood sugar levels don’t drop too low, such as a soda or a candy bar. These treats tend to have very high levels of sugar, as well as carbohydrates, and are very unhealthy. Of course, there is no problem with indulging in these snacks from time to time, but the high sugar content can be a bit more harmful to the health of those with diabetes. A protein shake, such as these Plant Based Protein Shakes, can be a healthier alternative to these kinds of snacks thanks to protein digesting more slowly than carbohydrates, but be warned that some packaged protein shakes and drinks can contain high amounts of sugar, so choose your shake carefully or better yet, make your own!
Protein Shakes That Are Helpful to Diabetics
Some protein shakes are better choices than others for diabetics. Protein shakes that contain more fiber are particularly good for those with diabetes as fiber slows down the body’s absorption of sugar. By slowing this process down, the chance of a potentially harmful blood spike in diabetics decreases. If you can’t find the right kind of protein shake, consider either making your own or throwing in some healthy, fibrous additions such as chia seeds, wheat bran or flax seeds. There are lots of protein shake recipes out there that cater to diabetics, so search around and find one to suit your particular tastes. Just make sure to keep an eye on your sugar intake.
Different Kinds of Protein Shakes
What different protein drinks and shakes are available, and which ones are the most appropriate for those with diabetes? This will vary from person to person, and it is always necessary to check the labels to see exactly how much sugar is in your shake. Ready-to-drink, packaged protein shakes can contain up to 30 grams of sugar, while some can be completely sugar-free. However, these sugar-free packaged protein drinks often have artificial sweeteners, so be sure to check those labels if you're trying to avoid sweeteners!
Protein powder drinks can be an improvement on pre-packaged shakes as you can have a little bit more control over how the drink can be mixed and made and what goes into it. Of course, you can make additions to a ready-to-drink protein shake - there’s nothing stopping you from throwing in a few chia seeds - but there is certainly more room for variation with protein powder shakes. Protein powders are also available as either plant-based powders - which obtain protein from food products such as rice and nuts - or whey-based, which gets protein from milk. These both have benefits for diabetics and help you work toward steady blood sugar levels, so the choice is yours.
The bottom line is that you can certainly still consume a protein shake if you have diabetes, but you may have to be a bit more careful with your consumption. The additional protein will help manage your blood sugar levels, but make sure you always check labels for sugar content.