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High-Protein and Normal-Protein Diets in Type 2 Diabetes

High-Protein and Normal-Protein Diets

Effectiveness of High-Protein and Normal-Protein Diets in Type 2 Diabetes Management

New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding dietary protein choices for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. The study suggests that the critical factor in managing the condition may be weight loss itself, regardless of the specific type of protein consumed. This article delves into the findings of this study, highlighting the implications for diabetes management and dietary flexibility.

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The Study Design:

In a comprehensive study recently published in the journal Obesity, 106 adults diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes participated in a randomized 52-week trial. Participants were assigned to either a high-protein or normal-protein diet, both of which were energy-restricted. Notably, the high-protein diet included recommendations to incorporate lean beef, while the normal-protein diet advised against consuming any red meats.

Research Outcomes:

The results were noteworthy, revealing that both dietary approaches led to significant improvements in glucose control, weight loss, and body composition among individuals with Type 2 diabetes.

The high-protein diet consisted of 40 percent of total calories from protein, while the moderate-protein diet comprised 21 percent of total calories from protein. This suggests that the type of protein in the diet may not be as crucial as previously thought, with overall weight loss playing a pivotal role in diabetes management.

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Insights from the Authors:

Lead author James O. Hill, a professor in the UAB Department of Nutrition Sciences, and co-author Drew Sayer, Ph.D., from the UAB Department of Family and Community Medicine, emphasized that individuals managing Type 2 diabetes can have flexibility in choosing a dietary pattern that aligns with their preferences. This adaptability can promote long-term adherence to healthier dietary choices.

Study Details:

In this multi-site, randomized controlled trial, 71 participants followed either a higher-protein diet that included lean beef (with no other source of red meat) or a normal-protein diet without any red meat consumption for a year.

The high-protein diet comprised 40 percent protein, 32 percent carbohydrate, and 28 percent fat of total energy, while the normal-protein diet consisted of 21 percent protein, 53 percent carbohydrate, and 26 percent fat of total energy, representing higher protein intake than the average American diet.

All participants had Type 2 diabetes and participated in the State of Slim weight management program, which involved calorie-restricted diets tailored to each phase of the program, along with a rigorous exercise regimen.

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Funding Source:

It’s worth noting that the study was funded by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. However, this funding source was not involved in the study’s design, interpretation, or publication.

Key Findings:

The study’s key takeaways include:

Both high-protein diets with red meat and normal-protein diets without red meat effectively contribute to weight loss and improved blood sugar control.
The primary determinant of Type 2 diabetes management appears to be weight loss itself, irrespective of the specific dietary protein composition.
Excluding red meat from the diet does not confer any additional benefits for weight loss or blood sugar control during a weight loss program.
These findings challenge conventional dietary recommendations for individuals with Type 2 diabetes, highlighting the importance of focusing on overall weight loss as a primary strategy for improved health outcomes.