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Identifying Behavioural Determinants to Uptake and Adherence to a Whey Protein Supplement for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes: A Qualitative Interview Study

Lookup NU author(s): Kirsten Ashley, Kieran Smith, Professor Emma Stevenson, Dr Daniel WestORCiD, Dr Leah Avery



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Interventions targeting diet and physical activity have demonstrated to be effective for improving glycaemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. However, initiating and sustaining these changes remains a challenge. Ingestion of whey protein has shown to be effective for improving glycaemic control by increasing insulin and incretin secretion, and influencing appetite regula-tion; however, little is known about what influences uptake and adherence. We conducted a qualitative interview study to explore behavioural determinants of uptake and adherence to a commer-cially made whey protein supplementation. In total, 16/18 adults with type 2 diabetes who partici-pated in an RCT took part in a semi-structured interview. Seven themes were generated from the data following thematic analyses. The most frequently reported determinant of uptake was the ex-pectation that the supplement would improve health status (e.g., type 2 diabetes management), as a consequence of appetite suppression and weight loss. Determinants of adherence included palat-ability; the belief that the supplement was an appetite suppressant; and receiving positive reinforce-ment on the effects of the supplement. Frequency of consumption led to reduced adherence with some participants. Findings support that the whey protein supplement is a viable management op-tion for adults with type 2 diabetes; however, uptake will be driven by conveying information on the positive effects of the supplement on appetite suppression and glycaemic control. Adherence will be determined by palatability, behavioural prompting, and positive reinforcement.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ashley K, Smith K, Brunsgaard LH, Stevenson E, West D, Avery L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2022

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Print publication date: 01/02/2022

Online publication date: 27/01/2022

Acceptance date: 25/01/2022

Date deposited: 23/02/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/nu14030565


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