Effect of an Enriched Protein Drink on Muscle Mass and Glycemic Control during Combined Lifestyle Intervention in Older Adults with Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes: A Double-Blind RCT

Nutrients. 2020 Dec 28;13(1):64. doi: 10.3390/nu13010064.


Background: Weight loss is key to treatment of older adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes, but also a risk for muscle mass loss. This study investigated whether a whey protein drink enriched with leucine and vitamin D could preserve muscle mass and improve glycemic control during combined lifestyle intervention in this population.

Methods: 123 older adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes were randomized into a 13-week lifestyle intervention with dietary advice and exercise, receiving either the enriched protein drink (test) or an isocaloric control (control). Muscle mass was assessed with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and glycemic control by oral glucose tolerance test. Statistical analyses were performed using a linear mixed model.

Results: There was a nonsignificant increase in leg muscle mass (+0.28 kg; 95% CI, -0.01 to 0.56) and a significant increase in appendicular muscle mass (+0.36 kg; 95% CI, 0.005 to 0.71) and total lean mass (+0.92 kg; 95% CI, 0.19 to 1.65) in test vs. control. Insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index) also increased in test vs. control (+0.52; 95% CI, 0.07 to 0.97).

Conclusions: Use of an enriched protein drink during combined lifestyle intervention shows beneficial effects on muscle mass and glycemic control in older adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: diabetes; elderly; insulin sensitivity; lean mass; overweight; protein; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Aged
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycemic Control / methods*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Leucine
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength
  • Muscles*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Overweight
  • Proteins
  • Vitamin D
  • Weight Loss


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Vitamin D
  • Leucine