Ask the Expert: Are those protein shakes OK for diabetics?

By Jessica Gibbons, Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietitian 7 Comments Tags: protein ask the expert balanced diet

Are those protein shakes or that huge jug of protein powder OK for diabetics? I am living overseas where trying to find a Dr. or specialized Diabetes dietitian that speaks and understands English is next to impossible.


Protein shakes and powder are fine for persons with diabetes to use just as they are fine for a person without diabetes to use. As with any other food, though, moderation is appropriate. As you decide whether to try a protein shake or powder, first read the label on the product you are choosing to eat or drink. Look at total carbohydrate grams per serving and see if that fits into your carbohydrate budget for the day. (A good rule of thumb for a carb budget for a female is 45-60 grams/meal, a male 60-75 grams per meal). Next, check the total grams of protein. While carbohydrate affects a person’s blood sugar the quickest and most significantly, protein does affect blood sugar to some degree. Protein makes blood sugar rise more slowly and you just need to be aware of this so that you can watch for elevated blood sugar 4-6 hours after eating a meal high in protein. As always, a balanced diet is important and getting nutrients from many different foods is always a great idea.

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