High-protein breakfasts could help maintain blood sugar control

High-protein breakfasts could help maintain blood sugar control

Women consuming a high-protein breakfast may have better control over glucose and insulin levels, and could be at a lower risk of developing diabetes, say researchers.

The new research found that when women consumed high-protein breakfasts, they maintained better glucose and insulin control than they did with lower-protein or no-protein meals.

"For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels," commented Dr Heather Leidy from the University of Missouri. "If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future."

Blood sugar management

The team noted that in most healthy individuals, the amount of glucose, or sugar, in the blood increases after eating. When glucose increases, levels of insulin increase to carry the glucose to the rest of the body.

Previous research has shown that extreme increases in glucose and insulin in the blood can lead to poor glucose control and increase an individual's risk of developing diabetes over time.

Study details

The team, including researchers from the University of Missouri and Biofortis Clinical Research, studied women aged 18-55 years old who consumed one of three different meals or only water on four consecutive days.

Each tested meals was less than 300 calories per serving and had similar fat and fibre contents. However, the meals varied in amount of protein: a pancake meal with three grams of protein; a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 30 grams of protein; or a sausage and egg breakfast skillet with 39 grams protein.

Glucose and insulin levels were monitored for four hours after they ate breakfast.

"Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast," explained study co-author Kevin Maki of Biofortis Clinical Research.

"Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein."

These findings suggest that, for healthy women, the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts leads to better glucose control throughout the morning than the consumption of low-protein options, said Leidy.

Based on the study's findings, the researchers are hopeful that the consumption of protein-rich breakfasts also would benefit individuals with pre-diabetes, although future research is needed to confirm this hypothesis, she said.

The study was presented at the 2014Experimental Biology meeting:

Source: The FASEB Journal (abstract only)
"Acute Effects of Higher Protein, Sausage and Egg-based Convenience Breakfast Meals on Postprandial Glucose Homeostasis in Healthy, Premenopausal Women"
Authors: Heather Leidy, Laura Ortinau, Tia Rains, Kevin Maki

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Comments (2)

Natasha Quill - 30 May 2014 | 06:10

Why did they not study mixed meals?

I would like to see the effect of eating mixed meals carbs and protein vs carbs and fat. I think that protein does the same thing as fat. Protein slows down the rate of release of sugar from food or gut absorption of sugar from food. But eating more protein with our carbs would be less harmful (to our heart or our weight) then eating more fat with our carbs.

30-May-2014 at 06:10 GMT

Casey Kimberly - 14 May 2014 | 06:02

What am I missing here?

As I understand it blood sugar can rise 60-100 'points' per 15g of carbs consumed. One pancake without syrup is approx. 15g carbs. Naturally blood glucose & insulin levels will "spike" after eating pancakes, regardless of when you eat them. Protein minimally affects blood sugar so it goes without saying that eating eggs and sausage will cause less of a blood glucose/insulin spike than pancakes. It seems like a pointless study. What am I missing? Anyone actively trying to "control" blood sugar would presumably know this. Now, if it's true that fat slows the digestion of carbs, thereby preventing blood sugar spikes, maybe the study should have added another meal, one with pancakes, eggs and sausage, we possibly could have seen that bs control can be managed when eating carbs with fat.

14-May-2014 at 18:02 GMT

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