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Spiking Insulin before Taking Protein

Why is Insulin Important?

The body naturally excretes insulin whenever we eat and it is responsible for shuttling nutrients such as glucose and amino acids into our blood stream which leads to growth, repair and energy for all of our muscles.

How the Body Naturally Excretes Insulin.

The amount of insulin excreted is directly correlated with the amount of food eaten and the glycemic index value of those foods. High glycemic carbohydrates such as potatoes, white bread, and rice will trigger more insulin to be released than lower glycemic carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole wheat bread and milk.

Carbohydrates that Spike Insulin Level

Spiking Insulin levels prior to Taking Protein

On the surface it may seem like a wise idea to take in fast digesting carbohydrates before consuming protein powder since insulin is responsible for shuttling needed amino acids into the bloodstream which ultimately leads to muscle growth...right?

Study #1

A recent study published by "Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise" looked at the difference between one group who only consumed whey protein post workout (group #1), and another that consumed whey protein along with fast acting carbohydrates (group #2). Would the protein synthesis rates of group #2 be greater than group #1?

The study showed that spiking insulin levels prior to consuming whey protein had no greater effect on protein synthesis and did not reduce protein breakdown post workout any more than the group that only had whey protein. [1]

Study #2

In 2007, a study done at Maastricht University examined three different test groups. First (group #1) was given protein only; the second group (group #2) was given protein with a low dose of carbohydrates; the last group (group #3) was given protein with a high dose of carbohydrates. What would be the results?

Given an easily digested high-quality protein (casein hydrolysates was used for this study), added does whether large or small had no additional effect on protein synthesis rates. [2]



Spiking insulin levels with high glycemic carbohydrates before or with consumption of a high quality protein will not enhance protein synthesis rates. The protein supplements that were used in these studies were whey and casein which have already been shown to create an insulin spike without added carbohydrates.

The simple truth is that there is no need to worry about increasing your insulin levels prior to taking protein, just make sure the protein powder being used is of high quality.

For the best whey protein powders see: Best Whey.

For the best casein protein powders see: Best Casein.


1. Staples AW, Burd NA, West DW, Currie KD, Atherton PJ, Moore DR, Rennie MJ, Macdonald MJ, Baker SK, Phillips SM. “Carbohydrate does not augment exercise-induced protein accretion versus protein alone.”, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 7 July. 2011. Retrieved on 10 April 2016.

2. Rene Koopman, Milou Beelen, Trent Stellingwerff, Bart Pennings, Wim H. M. Saris, Arie K. Kies, Harm Kuipers, and Luc J. C. van Loon “Coingestion of carbohydrate with protein does not further augment postexercise muscle protein synthesis”, Maastricht University, 3 July. 2007. Retrieved on 10 April 2016.