Effects of preoperative feeding with a whey protein plus carbohydrate drink on the acute phase response and insulin resistance. A randomized trial

Nutr J. 2011 Jun 13;10:66. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-66.


Background: Prolonged preoperative fasting increases insulin resistance and current evidence recommends carbohydrate (CHO) drinks 2 hours before surgery. Our hypothesis is that the addition of whey protein to a CHO-based drink not only reduces the inflammatory response but also diminish insulin resistance.

Methods: Seventeen patients scheduled to cholecystectomy or inguinal herniorraphy were randomized and given 474 ml and 237 ml of water (CO group) or a drink containing CHO and milk whey protein (CHO-P group) respectively, 6 and 3 hours before operation. Blood samples were collected before surgery and 24 hours afterwards for biochemical assays. The endpoints of the study were the insulin resistance (IR), the prognostic inflammatory and nutritional index (PINI) and the C-reactive protein (CRP)/albumin ratio. A 5% level for significance was established.

Results: There were no anesthetic or postoperative complications. The post-operative IR was lower in the CHO-P group when compared with the CO group (2.75 ± 0.72 vs 5.74 ± 1.16; p = 0.03). There was no difference between the two groups in relation to the PINI. The CHO-P group showed a decrease in the both CRP elevation and CRP/albumin ratio (p < 0.05). The proportion of patients who showed CRP/albumin ratio considered normal was significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the CHO-P group (87.5%) than in the CO group (33.3%).

Conclusions: Shortening the pre-operative fasting using CHO and whey protein is safe and reduces insulin resistance and postoperative acute phase response in elective moderate operations.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrial.gov NCT01354249.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Reaction / drug therapy*
  • Acute-Phase Reaction / pathology*
  • Adult
  • Albumins / administration & dosage
  • Albumins / analysis
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Perioperative Care
  • Whey Proteins


  • Albumins
  • Carbohydrates
  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins
  • C-Reactive Protein

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01354249