University of Missouri researchers found that people with type 2 diabetes can eat more protein at breakfast to lower glucose spikes.
Jill Kanaley at the University of Missouri said that though people often assumed that their glucose response at one meal would be identical to their responses at other meals, but that wasn't the case. In the study, they found that people who ate breakfast experienced appropriate glucose responses after lunch.
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.
Insulin levels were slightly elevated after the lunch meal, which demonstrated that individuals' bodies were working appropriately to regulate blood-sugar levels, Kanaley said.
The first meal of the day is critical in maintaining glycemic control at later meals, so it really primes people for the rest of the day, Kanaley said. 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. 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.
Kanaley said 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.
He suggested consuming 25 to 30 grams of protein at breakfast, which is within the range of the FDA recommendations.
The study is published in the Journal of Nutrition