The protein quantity and quality of foods are contributing factors to their effects on glucose control, but foods are much more complex than a single nutrient, or even the sum of their individual nutrients. Many dietary factors, nutritive and/or bioactive, mediate the relationship between food intake and health. This is particularly the case with the food matrix of dairy products.
The beneficial effects of dairy proteins on glucose regulation
It is well documented that protein and amino acid ingestion can increase the ability to secrete insulin, and this effect is particularly important in subjects with T2D. But the ability to modulate insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity varies with the source of protein, and there are many more factors involved in glycemic management than just insulin, such as incretin hormones (hormones synthetized by the gut). Among animal-based based proteins, certain subtypes shows negative, and other shows neutral or positive effects on T2D risk. The review pointed out that a higher intake of dairy products (such as milk, yogurt, cheese and whey proteins) consistently shows a beneficial relationship with glucose regulation and/or T2D risk reduction.
The food matrix matters
Intervention studies have provided evidences that dairy proteins have more effects on insulin and incretin secretion compared to other animal proteins. But these observations are not the only aspect involved in the potential protective effect of dairy on T2D. Besides, the authors underlines the food matrix of dairy products, which content several components which exerts beneficial effects on glucose control, insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity and/or T2D risk. These components are among others: calcium, magnesium, potassium, trans-palmitoleic fatty acids, and sugars with low-glycemic index. Finally, the authors also speculate that fermentation and fortification with probiotics and vitamin D may significantly contribute to improve glucose control effects of dairy foods.
In conclusion, the authors suggest that these results demonstrated that further focus on product type (e.g., milk, cheese, yogurt, whey protein), product characteristics (e.g., full-fat, low-fat, fat-free, fortified, fermented, etc.) and protein properties (e.g., BCAA content, EAA content, bioactive proteins and peptides) is necessary to better determine a product’s glucoregulatory abilities.
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