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High Protein Diet May Help Diabetics With Blood Sugar Control and Kidney Function

Previous studies have been inconclusive regarding the impact of high protein diets on type-2 diabetics. Some studies have found them to be beneficial, while others have found them to have adverse effects. However, a recent study suggests that consuming a high protein diet may help improve blood sugar control and kidney function in people with type-2 diabetes, with no adverse effects on liver or kidney function.


Participants in the study included 37 people with type-2 diabetes, a mean age of 65, a mean BMI of 30 kg/m2, and a mean HbA1c level (a marker of inflammation) of 7.0%. They were instructed to consume either a diet high in animal protein or a diet high in plant proteins that included 30% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 30% fat for a total of six weeks. The researchers conducted a number of tests at the beginning and conclusion of the study in order to measure the effects of the diet on metabolic functioning, liver fat, and blood sugar control.


At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that liver enzyme tests improved in both groups and that liver fat and HbA1 were reduced in all of the participants. However, insulin sensitivity improved only in the animal protein group.  Additionally, the plant protein group had a significant reduction in plasma creatinine, which indicates better kidney function. Finally, the plant protein group had an improvement in general kidney function, while the animal protein group did not show the same improvement. 


Researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition at Charité University Medicine in Berlin, Germany, conducted the study. It was presented at the 2015 European Association for the Study of Diabetes held the week of September 14, 2015.


Protein functions as a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood, enzymes, hormones, and vitamins. Previous studies suggest that consuming high amounts of protein may help build muscle and increase metabolism.

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