Low Animal Protein Improves Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetics – (07-09-01)

Low Animal Protein Improves Blood Glucose in Type 2 Diabetics

This title should not really surprise anyone, but the results of this study, although small, were quite amazing. Thirty percent reduction in HbA1C levels (a marker of long term glucose control) as well as a marked reduction in the amount of pharmaceutical drugs needed. I still find it very hard to understand why any physician would recommend the high protein/Atkin’s type diet as an across-the-board approach to weight control. The evidence in support of a plant based diet vs animal based for health is voluminous. And this study just evaluates dietary changes–add exercise, avoidance of refined carbs and specific nutrients (chromium, vanadium, alpha lipoic acid, CLA…) and I’m sure the results of this study would’ve been staggering.

83rd annual meeting of the Endocrine Society Type 2 diabetics who limit their intake of animal protein and sugar may significantly improve their lipid profile and lower their hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels. Dr. Greg Arsenis, from the University of South Florida, Tampa, and colleagues reported the findings here Wednesday at the 83rd annual meeting of the Endocrine Society. The researchers studied 51 patients with type 2 diabetes who had not benefited from large doses of oral hypoglycemics and/or insulin. They were assigned to reduce their dietary animal protein intake from 2 to 3 times a day to once every other day for 6 months, replacing it with equal amounts of vegetable protein. Sugars were eliminated, but caloric content remained the same to prevent weight loss. Among the 31 patients who stayed on the diet, the HbA1c value was decreased by a significant 30%, from an average of about 10 to about 7. Other significant improvements were that total cholesterol decreased by 32%, triglycerides by 60%, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 35%, and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol increased by 10%. “Patients liked the new diet and the fact that they did not have to fast, adhere to low-calorie diets or take appetite suppressants,” the researchers commented in a meeting abstract. They noted that of the 20 patients who did not follow the diet, 6 followed a low-calorie diet and lost weight, and 14 switched from red meat to fish and poultry, but their metabolic profile did not improve. Three of the patients who did follow the prescribed diet reduced their insulin dose by 50%, two patients discontinued insulin, four patients stopped taking oral hypoglycemics and six discontinued one or two of their hypolipemics. “We were not really surprised by these findings,” Dr. Arsenis told Reuters Health. “We know that animal protein contains essential amino acids which stimulate pancreatic insulin secretion.” The increased insulin increases adrenaline levels, which is thought to induce insulin resistance, he explained. Dr. Arsenis suggested that this type of diet might even help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

James Bogash

For more than a decade, Dr. Bogash has stayed current with the medical literature as it relates to physiology, disease prevention and disease management. He uses his knowledge to educate patients, the community and cyberspace on the best way to avoid and / or manage chronic diseases using lifestyle and targeted supplementation.