More morning protein could help treat type 2 diabetes

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Researchers say eating more protein in the morning could help keep blood sugars in check for diabetics.

University of Missouri-Columbia investigators have shown that eating more protein at breakfast can prevent blood sugar spikes for people trying to control type 2 diabetes.


One of the biggest challenges for people with diabetes is keeping glucose levels from going too high later in the day. Eating more protein in the morning can help ensure your blood sugar won't skyrocket after breakfast or lunch.

Jill Kanaley, professor and associate chair in the MU Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology warns it's wrong to assume your blood sugar will respond the same with each meal.

"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."

For their study Kanaley and her team monitored diabetics' insulin, blood sugar levels and gut hormones that play a role in insulin response.


Study participants' who ate more protein at breakfast had better blood sugar control after eating lunch. Their insulin levels were also slightly higher than the group given more carbohydrates at breakfast, showing the body was working properly to control glucose.

For the investigation one group ate a high carb meal at breakfast and one group was given high protein. For lunch, the participants ate a standard amount of protein and carbohydrates.

Kanaley says it's important to track your blood sugars frequently to understand how different foods affect your own glucose levels. "Trigger foods may change depending on how much physical activity people have gotten that day or how long they have waited between meals."

You can get the benefits of protein without eating extreme amounts Kanaley says. She recommends consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein for breakfast to control blood sugar after lunch. Protein at breakfast primes the body to secrete insulin at your second meal of the day.

Eating more protein in the morning could help control type 2 diabetes and for some people may be crucial for controlling blood sugar levels. Checking your blood sugar regularly is important for tracking how your body responds to foods and differences in glucose levels that might depend on how long you wait between meals.


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