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The Myth Of The High Protein Diet And What It Really Means For Diabetics

High protein diet diabetes

It is a little known fact that if you ate only protein, you would starve to death. Conversely, if you eat high amounts of protein, while keeping carbohydrates in your diet low, you’re still starving yourself, only at a much slower rate. A high protein is what many people who want slim down turn to, particularly diabetics, much to the detriment of their health. That being said, high protein should be among the foods to avoid for diabetes,


While extreme, eating a diet of only protein causes what is known as protein poisoning. Protein poisoning is a rare form of malnutrition caused by a total absence of fat in the diet. Protein poisoning was first noted as a consequence of artic explorers eating rabbit meat exclusively and earned the term, "rabbit starvation". In the same way, when you are eating a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat, you are not maintaining your health, you're worsening it. The diabetic body requires more carbohydrates than you've been told. It requires the right carbohydrates.

Why High Protein Diets Are A Myth

The name "rabbit starvation" began with an arctic explorer named, Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who, in the early 1900's lived with the Eskimos and Inuits of Alaska and Northern Canada. Stefansson’s observations were: " Rabbit eaters, if they have no fat from another source - beaver, moose, fish - will develop diarrhea in about a week, with headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort. If there are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied."

Notably, protein poisoning is not only due to eating rabbit. Any diet high in protein, devoid of fat and carbohydrates, will result in a depletion of energy for the body to function optimally long term. This why ketogenic diet recommendations are a myth and why both the Atkins diet program and the Paleo diet have drastically lowered their protein recommendations and increased their recommendation of high quality plant-based carbohydrates. That being said, while there are many foods to avoid for diabetes, a diet high in protein, should be one of them.

Glucose Is What The Brain and Muscles Need To Function Optimally

It has long been taught that foods high in carbohydrates such as fruits and certain vegetables are among the foods to avoid for diabetes when the reverse is true. While the trend is that the brain requires more fat, what your brain and muscles really use as a main energy source is glucose. While the body can burn protein as an energy source, this is not a healthy solution long-term. Too much animal protein, and hence, too much fat in the diet, is the cause of fatty liver, kidney and gallbladder stones, gout and puts the body into ketosis, which burdens the kidneys. What is more, high amounts of protein stresses the digestive organs, since protein may take days to move through the digestive tract in comparison to fruits and vegetables/ As protein slows movement through the intestines, fermentation occurs and ammonia gas forms – this is called intestinal permeability, which poisons the blood.

High Protein Diets Are Depleting Creating Food Cravings

With a non-fatty liver that is not sluggish, amino acids from eating protein can be converted into an energy source by the liver efficiently. However, this process requires energy, and to have energy the body needs carbohydrates. Because the liver is only capable of producing 250 grams of glucose from a protein source, no matter how much protein you eat, you will not feel satiated. The body will become depleted and craving will begin for carbohydrates, fat and sweet cravings. These cravings will persist because this is an indication of mild starvation.

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Plants food is an essential part of the human diet and are comprised of various compounds which are closely related to liver health. Although, the knowledge of the effects of plants on the liver is still incomplete, plant foods are an essential part of the human diet and are comprised of various compounds that are closely related to liver health.

High Protein Diets Linked To Heart Disease

Further, researchers found that postmenopausal women who follow a high-protein diet had a significantly higher rate of heart failure than those who ate less protein or more vegetable protein.

The study of preliminary research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2016, looked at the dietary protein intake of 103,878 women, ages 50 to 79, from 1993 to 1998. The women self-reported their daily diets, which researchers noted can be unreliable; researchers also used biomarker data to determine actual amounts of dietary protein. Although all participants were free of heart failure during that period, astoundingly, about 1,700 of them developed heart failure by 2005.

Researchers found that by increasing the total dietary protein intake, there was a statically significant increase in the incidence of heart failure, which could be attributed to the molecular mechanisms of animal protein, because animal proteins can turn to toxic molecules, which can in turn affect the function of the heart's left ventricle and lead to heart failure. They can also increase the body mass index, a known risk factor for heart failure. Additionally, other research has shown that men who regularly eat moderate amounts of processed red meat, such as cold cuts ham, salami, and sausage may have an increased risk of heart failure incidence and a greater risk of death from heart failure according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Study after study is beginning to divulge the consequences of eating too much protein.

“Subsequently, eating a diet high in animal protein, especially during middle age, makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein, plant-based diet according to research from the University of Southern California. This is a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking twenty cigarettes a day. Let that sink in. This astounding information has initiated the 2015 U.S. dietary guidelines to back off from meat and promote sustainability by eating more plant-based foods. For children and those over sixty-five years of age, protein intake does need to be a bit higher, but only by about two percent.“ (EAT!: Empower. Adjust. Triumph!: Lose Ridiculous Weight)

Diabetics Need To Eat More Carbohydrates Without Fear Of Spiking Blood Sugar

Eating a high protein, low carbohydrate diet, versus a diet high in quality carbohydrates such as fruits and vegetables and plant-based proteins, will over time, burden the liver and result in a diagnosis of prediabetes and/or type 2 diabetes, heart disease and ultimately cancer, research has proven.

In both cases, where a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and consequently, a liver condition already exists, the disease can be reversed by lowering animal protein as well as substantially lowering all fat from the diet.