Protein before the meal – slims and regulates blood sugar

Consuming protein products, such as whey protein, before the planned meals may be a good way of decreasing excessive body mass and blood glucose level. Such conclusions may be drawn from the available scientific literature. What mechanisms are the base of this dependency?

You should definitely read:

Protein and kidneys: facts and myths

The slimming power of protein

There's no doubt that protein is the macro nutrient of specific importance for the work on the body. Even though it is a building material for muscles, majority of studies point out that the increase of its consumption may make the reduction of excessive body mass easier by speeding up the loss of fatty reserves gathered within the body. The mechanisms, which are the base of this dependency, are complex and they include:

  • speeding up metabolism (protein is definitely the most thermogenic nutrient),

  • stopping catabolism (protection of the muscle tissue from decomposition lets the body improve its composition during slimming),

  • lowering the appetite (we feel satiety easier when the supply of protein is higher, rather than in case of the supply of other macro nutrients).

Protein before the meal decreases appetite

Consuming protein products before the planned meals may seem a strange idea. However, there's some method in it. It was observed, that the intake of a dose of proteins before eating a meal decreases the appetite significantly. It seems logical, because, for example, if we supply 150 kcal from proteins as an appetizer, we will probably eat less by that amount in the main course. Well, the facts are different. It occurs, that if we experiment with such practise, it leads to a situation, when, in case of eating without any limits, within one meal including the protein appetizer – we will eat less than when eating similar meal without the protein appetizer. It is connected with the influence of proteins on the feeling of satiety. Thanks to eating protein before the meal – we feel full much earlier. However, that's not the end of benefits.

Protein before the meal decreases the level of blood glucose

There is evidence in a form of scientific research, which show that the consumption of protein before the meals leads to lowering blood sugar. Using common expressions, you may say, that protein decreases the glycemic load of the dishes. This effect was observed in case of people suffering from type 2 diabetes, where consuming 50 g of whey protein before a very highly-glycemic meal caused the decrease of blood glucose level after the meal by 28% comparing to the control group, which got placebo!

Does only whey protein have the unique properties?

The fact is, that majority of studies with the positive results of consuming protein before the meals is done with the use of whey protein. However, the statement that other kinds of protein will work similarly, including caseine, egg albumine or meat and soy proteins, can be said, too. You have to remember, that whey protein has probably the strongest properties in this matter (the influence on blood sugar and appetite), additionally, it is strongly thermogenic, which derives from fast absorption and metabolism kinetics.

Practical use

Consuming a portion of protein conditioner before each meal may be boring and expensive on the one hand, and on the other – it may be even unhealthy. If you eat four meals a day and you would like to consume 50g of whey protein concentrate or isolate (such amount was used in the study), it would turn out very quickly that the daily dose of protein is extremely high. However, you may use the information from this text on special occasions. In other words, in a situation, when you know that you have a “highly-glycemic feast” ahead, you may think about starting it with a dose of lean protein, e.g. in a form of whey protein. This way you will feel full faster and you will lower the after-meal blood glucose level. You may also consume a portion of protein when you are very hungry and are afraid to stop on a planned amount of food, which is in the nearest future. It may be potentially beneficial for metabolic health and body aesthetics.

Summary

Consuming protein before the meals may make sense in a context of decreasing the after-meal blood sugar and better control of hunger. But it has to be added, that the functionality of such actions as a permanent solution is limited, therefore, you should use it only on some occasions.