Background: In single-meal studies, dietary protein does not result in an increase in glucose concentrations in persons with or without type 2 diabetes, even though the resulting amino acids can be used for gluconeogenesis.
Objective: The metabolic effects of a high-protein diet were compared with those of the prototypical healthy (control) diet, which is currently recommended by several scientific organizations.
Design: The metabolic effects of both diets, consumed for 5 wk each (separated by a 2-5-wk washout period), were studied in 12 subjects with untreated type 2 diabetes. The ratio of protein to carbohydrate to fat was 30:40:30 in the high-protein diet and 15:55:30 in the control diet. The subjects remained weight-stable during the study.
Results: With the fasting glucose concentration used as a baseline from which to determine the area under the curve, the high-protein diet resulted in a 40% decrease in the mean 24-h integrated glucose area response. Glycated hemoglobin decreased 0.8% and 0.3% after 5 wk of the high-protein and control diets, respectively; the difference was significant (P < 0.05). The rate of change over time was also significantly greater after the high-protein diet than after the control diet (P < 0.001). Fasting triacylglycerol was significantly lower after the high-protein diet than after the control diet. Insulin, C-peptide, and free fatty acid concentrations were not significantly different after the 2 diets.
Conclusion: A high-protein diet lowers blood glucose postprandially in persons with type 2 diabetes and improves overall glucose control. However, longer-term studies are necessary to determine the total magnitude of response, possible adverse effects, and the long-term acceptability of the diet.