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Nil Whey Protein Effect on Glycemic Control after Intense Mixed-Mode Training in Type 2 Diabetes


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: January 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 1 - p 11–17
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001404
Clinical Sciences

Although intense endurance and resistance exercise training and whey protein supplementation have both been shown to independently improve glycemic control, no known studies have examined the effect of high-intensity mixed-mode interval training (MMIT) and whey supplementation in adults with Type 2 diabetes (T2D).

Purpose This study aimed to determine if peritraining whey protein supplementation combined with MMIT can improve glycemic control.

Methods In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial, 24 men (55.7 ± 5.6 yr) with T2D performed MMIT with whey (20 g) or placebo control for 10 wk. Glycemic control was assessed via glucose disposal rate during a euglycemic insulin clamp, fasting blood glucose concentration, and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance. Changes in peak oxygen consumption, 1-repetition maximum strength, vastus lateralis muscle, and subcutaneous adipose thicknesses, and waist circumference were also assessed.

Results Ten weeks of MMIT substantially improved glucose disposal rate by 27.5% (90% confidence interval, 1.2%–60.7%) and 24.8% (−5.4% to 64.8%) in the whey and control groups, respectively. There were likely and possible reductions in fasting blood glucose by −17.4% (−30.6% to −1.6%) and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance by −14.1% (−25.3% to 1.08%) in the whey group; however, whey effects were not clearly beneficial to glycemic outcomes relative to the control. MMIT also clearly substantially improved 1-repetition maximum by 20.6% (16.3%–24.9%) and 22.7% (18.4%–27.2%), peak oxygen consumption by 22.6% (12.0%–26.2%) and 18.5% (10.5%–27.4%), and vastus lateralis muscle thickness by 18.9% (12.0%–26.2%) and 18.6% (10.5%–27.4%) and possibly reduced waist circumference by −2.1% (−3.1% to −1.0%) and −1.9% (−3.7% to −0.1%) in the control and whey groups, respectively, but the whey–control outcome was trivial or unclear.

Conclusions A clinically meaningful enhancement in glycemic control after 10 wk of MMIT was not clearly advanced with peritraining whey protein supplementation in middle-age men with T2D.

1School of Sport, Exercise, and Nutrition, Massey University Wellington, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND; 2Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; 3Department of Sport and Exercise, University of Winchester, Winchester, UNITED KINGDOM; 4Centre for Endocrine, Diabetes and Obesity Research, Wellington Regional Hospital, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND; and 5Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington, Wellington, NEW ZEALAND

Address for correspondence: David S. Rowlands, Ph.D., School of Sport, Exercise, and Nutrition, Massey University Wellington, 63 Wallace St, Wellington, 6021 New Zealand; E-mail:

Submitted for publication May 2017.

Accepted for publication August 2017.

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine