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High protein diet benefits diabetics

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA. The optimum diet for type 2 diabetes patients has long been a subject of considerable controversy. Some researchers advocate a diet high in complex carbohydrates while others contend that a diet high in protein is superior.Researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization have just released the results of a study, which shows that a high protein diet is superior to a high carbohydrate diet. The study involved 54 obese men and women with type 2 diabetes who were fed either a high protein (HP) or a low protein (LP) diet for eight weeks. The HP diet provided 30 per cent of energy from protein, 40 per cent from carbohydrates, and the remainder from fat. The LP diet provided 15 per cent of energy from protein and 60 per cent from carbohydrates. The fat portion consisted of 8 per cent saturated fatty acids, 12 per cent monounsaturated fatty acids, and 5 per cent polyunsaturated fatty acids. The diet was energy restricted (1600 kcal/day) for the first eight weeks and balanced for the following four weeks.

At the end of the trial, participants had lost an average of 5.2 kg (11 lbs). Women on the HP diet lost significantly more fat (5.3 versus 2.8 kg) than did women on the LP diet and the fat loss was particularly pronounced in the abdominal area. Both men and women experienced a 5.7 per cent (average) reduction in LDL ("bad") cholesterol on the HP diet as compared to only a 2.7 per cent reduction on the LP diet. Total cholesterol levels also declined significantly more in the HP group than in the LP group. Both groups also saw a significant drop in fasting and 2-hour insulin concentrations. The researchers conclude that the high protein diet is a valid choice for patients with type 2 diabetes and may actually reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by 10 per cent.
Parker, Barbara, et al. Effect of a high-protein, high-monounsaturated fat weight loss diet on glycemic control and lipid levels in type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care, Vol. 25, March 2002, pp. 425-30

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