Protein is one of the three main sources of macronutrients the body needs. The other two important macronutrients are fats and carbohydrates. Protein plays a crucial role in growth and development of new tissues. It is also an important constituent of each cell in the body. This macronutrient is not only important for growth, it can also be converted by the body into glucose for energy.
If you are thinking of switching to a high-protein diet you need to understand the advantages and disadvantages, especially if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.
Advantages of Following A High-Protein Diet
– Reduced Appetite
One of the advantages is a reduced appetite. Protein can help you feel fuller for much longer than other types of macronutrients because protein takes more time to digest than carbohydrates.
– Improved Blood Levels
You’ll benefit from improved levels of blood lipids, and insulin and blood glucose levels are also improved.
– Ketosis and Weight Loss
Another advantage is a high protein diet allows the body to undergo ketosis. This is the stage when the body begins to burn fat instead of carbohydrate-derived glucose as its source of fuel. This is due to the limited availability of glucose, due to restricting carb intake.
If you reduce your intake of carbohydrates and increase your protein intake, weight loss can be achieved more easily.
It is important to keep in mind that these benefits may not be equal for everyone. It is always important to consider individual differences in health status and food preferences when making changes to any diet.
Disadvantages of Following A High-Protein Diet
– For some diabetics, the excessive intake of protein can lead to low levels of insulin. This can translate to the poor regulation of blood glucose.
– Greater calcium excretion which may have adverse impacts on bone health.
– Dry mouth and bad breath.
– Diarrhea and/or constipation.
– Headaches and fatigue.
Some experts believe that any benefits achieved by switching to a high-protein diet may be due to the fact that the patients are basically reducing their carbohydrate intake, rather than eating healthy protein-rich foods. This is why some experts suggest that instead of switching to a high-protein diet, a ‘Consistent Carbohydrate Diet’ be considered instead.
What is a ‘Consistent Carbohydrate Diet’?
Although this diet does not differ much from a ‘regular’ diet, patients have to monitor their carbohydrate intake. This means for every meal and snack. This close monitoring, according to some experts, is the type of diet that works best for type 2 diabetics.
NOT Recommended for Diabetic Nephropathy Patients
A high protein diet is not recommended for people who have diabetic nephropathy. This condition requires individuals to consume less protein. Their protein intake should not exceed one gram per kilogram of their body weight. This is because increased protein can contribute to further damage of their kidneys.
Patients diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy must work closely with their healthcare provider to ensure they don’t become protein deficient.
Protein for Diabetics
The American Diabetes Association suggests that people with diabetes consume fish as their source of protein at least twice a week. Consumption of processed foods and red meat should be limited and lean meats should be chosen.
Anyone who wants to adhere to a high protein diet should first consult their healthcare provider. Your body requirements will differ to someone else, especially if you have been diagnosed with any type of chronic disease or illness, including diabetes.
Evidence from studies suggests there is no set amount of protein that a diabetic should consume. Their intake of macronutrients must always be based on their metabolic goals, current eating patterns and food preferences.
In conclusion, if you’re wondering whether a high protein diet is safe or unsafe for a diabetic to switch to, it depends on the individual! This is why it’s important to speak to your doctor before you go making big changes to your diet habits.
Whatever changes you make in your diet, make sure it’s under the supervision of an expert. Think of food administration like a drug. It has to be taken as prescribed, in the right amounts at the right time. Each food choice is also crucial. It can be beneficial, or pose as a risk, especially for diabetics. Therefore, don’t rely on your instincts. Ask the experts!