Comparison of the effects of diets high in animal or plant protein on metabolic and cardiovascular markers in type 2 diabetes: A randomized clinical trial

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2017 Jul;19(7):944-952. doi: 10.1111/dom.12901. Epub 2017 Mar 8.


Aim: To compare high animal protein (AP) with high plant protein (PP) diets, differing in amino acid composition, in people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

Materials and methods: We compared isocaloric diets containing 30% of energy either as AP or PP, using newly developed PP-enriched foods, both combined with 30% energy as fat and 40% as carbohydrates in 44 patients with T2DM over 6 weeks in a randomized parallel-group study. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamps and cardiovascular variables were measured.

Results: Uric acid decreased in both groups, but significantly more in the AP than the PP group. There were no significant differences in other variables, although glycated haemoglobin levels, diastolic blood pressure and fasting non-esterified fatty acid levels improved significantly in the PP but not in the AP group. Insulin sensitivity (M-value), C-reactive protein and fasting glucose improved significantly in the AP but not in the PP group. Total and LDL cholesterol levels and systolic blood pressure decreased significantly in both groups, and the urinary albumin excretion rate decreased from baseline in participants with microalbuminuria.

Conclusions: Isocaloric diets high in AP or PP allow similar improvements in metabolism and cardiovascular risk factors in people with T2DM, indicating that the differences in amino acid composition do not affect the metabolic responses to the interventions.

Keywords: animal protein; plant protein; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / analysis
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / complications
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dairy Products / adverse effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathies / epidemiology
  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathies / prevention & control*
  • Diet, Diabetic / methods*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / complications
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology
  • Hypercholesterolemia / prevention & control
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Meat / adverse effects
  • Middle Aged
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors
  • Uric Acid / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary
  • Uric Acid
  • C-Reactive Protein