A protein preload
Starting the day with whey protein curtails blood-sugar spikes from the get-go, research in Diabetologia suggests. Drinking a whey shake lowered glucose spikes by 28%—an effect that persisted for three hours and helped participants sidestep energy dips. “Whey protein triggers the release of substances that assist insulin in bringing blood sugar into balance,” notes Dr. Pescatore, who suggests adding 20 to 25 grams of whey powder to a daily smoothie. “Plus, amino acids in whey protein are used by the body to make neurotransmitters that keep brain cells firing at their peak.” The proof: In a British study, subjects who had a whey-enriched breakfast performed 180% better on cognitive tasks than those who didn’t consume whey.