More Protein at Breakfast Helps Regulate Blood Sugar Levels for Type 2 Diabetics

by Barbara Hewitt on May 6, 2015

Eating more protein at breakfast can help people with type 2 diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels, new research has found.

This can help reduce glucose spikes at both breakfast and lunch, according to a study carried out by scientists at the University of Missouri’s Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology.

Woman eating breakfast‘People often assume that their glucose response at one meal will be identical to their responses at other meals, but that really isn’t the case,’ said Jill Kanaley, professor and associate chair in the department.

‘For instance, we know that what you eat and when you eat make a difference, and that if people skip breakfast, their glucose response at lunch will be huge. In our study, we found those who ate breakfast experienced appropriate glucose responses after lunch,’ she explained.

Kanaley and her colleagues monitored type 2 diabetics’ levels of glucose, insulin and several gut hormones, which help regulate the insulin response, after breakfast and lunch. The participants ate either high-protein or high-carbohydrate breakfasts, and the lunch included a standard amount of protein and carbohydrates.

The researchers found eating more protein at breakfast lowered individuals’ post meal glucose levels. Insulin levels were slightly elevated after the lunch meal, which demonstrated that individuals’ bodies were working appropriately to regulate blood-sugar levels.

‘The first meal of the day is critical in maintaining glycaemic control at later meals, so it really primes people for the rest of the day. Eating breakfast prompts cells to increase concentrations of insulin at the second meal, which is good because it shows that the body is acting appropriately by trying to regulate glucose levels,’ Kanaley explained.

‘However, it is important for type 2 diabetics to understand that different foods will affect them differently, and to really understand how they respond to meals, they need to consistently track their glucose. Trigger foods may change depending on how much physical activity people have gotten that day or how long they have waited between meals,’ she added.

Kanaley pointed out that although it would be helpful for individuals with high blood sugar to eat more protein, they do not need to consume extreme amounts of protein to reap the benefits.

‘We suggest consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast, which is within the range of the Food and Drug Administration recommendations,’ Kanaley said.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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