High-Protein Diet Does Not Protect Against Diabetes: Study

First Posted: Oct 13, 2016 05:14 AM EDT

For quite some time now, it has been a popular belief that a high-protein diet can help in losing weight. And because insulin sensitivity can be one of the positive effects of weight loss, a number of people with diabetes opt to eat food with high protein. However, a recent study revealed that losing weight on a high-protein diet does not improve insulin sensitivity.

Improving insulin sensitivity is important, for it lowers the risk for diabetes and heart illness. When a person suffers from type 2 diabetes, the cells lose insulin sensitivity. Losing the capacity to respond to the metabolic hormone often happens due to obesity; hence the aforementioned preference of diabetic patients for a high-protein diet.

However, as UPI reported, study principal investigator Bettina Mittendorfer said they found that women who lost weight due to a high-protein diet did not improve their insulin sensitivity. Mittendorfer works as a medicine professor at Washington University School of Medicine.

The study focused on 34 obese women aged 50 to 60 who did not have diabetes. The team divided them into three groups: a dieting group that ate food with high protein, a dieting group that consumed the recommended daily protein level, and a no-dieting group.

The results showed that women who opted for a high-protein diet did not show insulin sensitivity improvement while women who ate the standard amount of protein improved their insulin sensitivity by 25 to 30 percent. In hindsight, those who ate less protein became more sensitive to insulin. Meanwhile, it was also found that consumption of high levels of protein offer little benefits in preserving muscles while on a diet.

Daily Mail reported that at present, it is not yet clear why a high-protein diet did not improve insulin sensitivity. Also,it is not certain whether the same findings would be seen in men. As of writing, Mittendorfer is planning to do further research.

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