One of the most common problems that many patients with diabetes have is excessive weight. They know that they need to be on a very low carbohydrate diet in order to lose weight and control their blood sugar better. But this can lead to a real bind. In order to be on a low carbohydrate diet, something else has to take the place of the carbohydrates you're not eating. What should it be?
How about fat? As you may know, diabetics have an increased risk for atherosclerosis. So a diet high in fat is not appropriate.
How about protein? Most diabetics are warned to avoid a high protein diet because it might cause kidney damage, and diabetics are also at special risk for kidney disease. So what's left? Nothing! But now there does look like there's a way out of the dilemma. A brand new study now indicates that a high protein diet in diabetics will not lead to an increased risk of kidney problems.
Researchers looked at 45 overweight and obese men and women with type-2 diabetes. All of them were in the early stages of kidney disease. They put half of them on a high protein diet in which more than 25% of their total calories came from protein. They put the other half on a lower protein diet that contained about 20 fewer grams of protein per day. Then they followed the participants for 12 months to see what happened to their kidney function.
There was no difference between the two groups. The increased levels of protein had absolutely no effect at all on their kidney function. This is very good news.
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This past year, I treated a diabetic patient with severe kidney disease. Because of his diabetes, I put him on a low carbohydrate diet. And because of his kidneys, I kept him on a very low protein diet, essentially prohibiting all animal protein. The diet was difficult, but he was disciplined and did it. The result? The diet controlled his diabetes perfectly, but his kidneys went bad anyway. This study shows that he would have had the same result even if he were on a completely normal protein diet without all the aggravation.
So if you have type-2 diabetes and you either need to lose weight or get a better control of your sugar levels, don't hesitate to go on a higher protein diet. I describe how to do that in my book, The Type 2 Diabetes Breakthrough. Ask your doctor to monitor your kidney function tests every year because that's always a risk. But now you don't need to worry that a diet high in protein will increase the risk. And it will certainly help you to lose weight and get a better control of your sugar levels.
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