Nocturnal whey protein ingestion impairs postprandial glucose tolerance at breakfast: Nocturnal protein impairs glycaemic control.

Eleanor Smith, Emmanuel Adama, Keeley Clayton, James Holbrey, Gabriel Palubiski, Harry Smith, Javier Gonzalez, James Betts

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3 Citations (SciVal)
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Poor post-prandial glucose control is a risk factor for multiple health conditions. The second-meal effect refers to the progressively improved glycaemic control with repeated feedings, an effect which is achievable with protein ingestion at the initial eating occasion. The most pronounced glycaemic response each day therefore typically occurs following breakfast, so the present study investigated whether ingesting protein during the night could improve glucose control at the first meal of the day. In a randomised crossover design, fifteen adults (seven males, eight females; age, 22 (sd 3) years; BMI, 24·0 (sd 2·8) kg/m; fasting blood glucose, 4·9 (sd 0·5) mmol/l) woke at 04.00 (sd 1) hours to ingest 300 ml water with or without 63 g whey protein. Participants then completed a mixed-macronutrient meal tolerance test (1 g carbohydrate/kg body mass, 2356 (sd 435) kJ), 5 h 39 min following the nocturnal feeding. Nocturnal protein ingestion increased the glycaemic response (incremental AUC) to breakfast by 43·5 (sd 55·5) mmol × 120 min/l (P = 0·009, d = 0·94). Consistent with this effect, individual peak blood glucose concentrations were 0·6 (sd 1·0) mmol/l higher following breakfast when protein had been ingested (P = 0·049, d = 0·50). Immediately prior to breakfast, rates of lipid oxidation were 0·02 (sd 0·03) g/min higher (P = 0·045) in the protein condition, followed by an elevated post-prandial energy expenditure (0·38 (sd 0·50) kJ/min, P = 0·018). Post-prandial appetite and energy intake were similar between conditions. The present study reveals a paradoxical second-meal phenomenon whereby nocturnal whey protein feeding impaired subsequent glucose tolerance, whilst increasing post-prandial energy expenditure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)669-677
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number6
Early online date27 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2021


  • Amino acids
  • Carbohydrate
  • Second-meal effect
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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