Diabetics benefit from high-protein diets without risk, study finds

January 15, 2014 by David Ellis, University of Adelaide

(Medical Xpress)—Obese people with diabetes are able to lose weight on high-protein diets and see improvement in both cardiovascular and renal health, despite initial concerns about the impact on their renal health.

That's according to research conducted by University of Adelaide PhD student Eva Pedersen, who compared the effects of a high-protein and standard diet in a year-long study involving 45 with type 2 diabetes.

The results show that weight loss achieved by both diets resulted in a range of benefits for the participants.

"High-protein diets are commonly used in our community, but concerns have been raised about the potential harmful effects of these diets on diabetic people's renal function, which is often already compromised due to their condition," says senior author Professor Peter Clifton, Affiliate Professor at the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine and Eva Pedersen's supervisor.

Within the first six months of the study, both diets helped the participants to , with almost 9% of body weight lost by those on the high-protein diet and more than 6% by those on the standard diet. Weight loss in both groups plateaued after that time.

"Far from seeing any problems caused by the high-protein diet, the participants' weight loss resulted in improvements to their renal health, as well as to their overall and the control of their blood-sugar levels," says Professor Clifton, who is also co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet book.

"These benefits were seen in participants on both the high-protein and the , which is a good message for diabetic people who are looking to lose weight and improve their wellbeing.

"Even modest has been shown to provide a range of health improvements for diabetic people."

The results of this study have been published online in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases and in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Explore further: Experts say paleo diet is worst, DASH diet is best

More information: E. Pedersen, D.R. Jesudason, P.M. Clifton, "High protein weight loss diets in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus," Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases, Available online 2 December 2013, ISSN 0939-4753, dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.numecd.2013.11.003.

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