European Association for the Study of Diabetes
European Association for the Study of Diabetes
September 21, 2015
1 min read

Better blood glucose control found with high-protein diets from plant, animal sources

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Blood glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes improved with a high-protein diet regardless of protein source, according to study findings presented at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting.

Mariya Markova, PhD, of the German Institute of Human Nutrition at Charité University Medicine, Berlin, and colleagues evaluated 37 adults (mean age, 65 years; 24 men) with type 2 diabetes randomly assigned a high-animal (meat and dairy foods) or high-plant (dietary pulses) protein diet (30% protein; 40% carbohydrates; 30% fat) for 6 weeks.

After both interventions, levels of liver parameters including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) in blood improved. Reductions in both liver fat content and HbA1c levels were found in the animal protein group (P < .001 and P < .05, respectively) and in the plant protein group (P < .001 for both).

Improvement in clamp-derived insulin sensitivity was seen only for the high-animal protein group (P < .05). Compared with the high-animal protein group, there were reductions in plasma creatinine (P < .01) and glomerular filtration rate (P < .001) in the high-plant protein group.

No alterations were found for the Akt/mTOR pathway in white blood cells, whereas the high-animal protein group had a nearly twofold higher phosphorylation of AMPK, Erk1/2 and 4E-BP1 in adipose tissue. The high-plant protein group had significantly increased phosphorylation of BAD and PDK1.

Both groups had improved liver parameters in blood after the diet intervention.

“In diabetic subjects, the 6-week high-protein diet leads to an improvement of glucose metabolism and decrease of liver fat content independently from the protein origin,” the researchers wrote. “The high-protein diet has no adverse effects on kidney parameters; moreover, the kidney function improved in the plant protein group.” – by Amber Cox


Markova M, et al. Poster #701. Presented at: 51st EASD Annual Meeting; Sept. 14-18, 2015; Stockholm.

Disclosure: Markova reports no relevant financial disclosures.