By: Radha McLean
Eating less animal protein and sugar may improve HbA1c levels in your body, say researchers from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
In a study examining the effects of switching from a diet high in meat to one high in vegetables, 51 people with type 2 diabetes were observed. The type 2s lowered their intake of animal protein from two to three times a day to once every other day for six months, and replaced it with vegetable protein. Sugar consumption was ceased, but the amount of calories in their diets remained the same.
Greg Arsenis, MD, and colleagues announced the findings of their research at the 83rd annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in June. Of the 31 people who stuck with the diet, A1c levels decreased by 30 percent—from an average of 10% to 7%. Total cholesterol levels lowered 32 percent while triglycerides lowered 60 percent.
In addition, three of the people on the low-animal-protein diet cut their insulin doses in half, two stopped taking insulin altogether, four stopped taking oral drug treatments and six cut down on one or two of their oral treatments.
In an interview with Reuters Health, Arsenis said that animal protein contains amino acids that stimulate insulin secretion, which, in effect, makes adrenaline increase in the body—an action that scientists believe causes insulin resistance.