High-Protein Diets Impair Insulin Sensitivity

Learn this ancient Diabetes Miracle!

High-protein diets are the primary recommendation for people living with diabetes.They are told to eat high-protein diets to preserve lean muscle mass, but this study shows that high-protein diets actually cause insulin resistance despite large amounts of weight loss.

Link to study: https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(16)31286-4

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42 comments

  • victory Leo

    well then if I understand this I’m doing a 3 month potatoes challenge might help my weight loss and my diabetes last time I my a1 check was 7

    • tattooed vegan

      victory leo, hows the challenge going?

    • victory Leo

      Jason Simpson thanks for the info ?

    • Jason Simpson

      Type 2. Type 1’s can’t get by with just oral medication.

    • victory Leo

      Mastering Diabetes I forget what type diabetes I have I’m on metformin I think its been a year since been told I was diabetic stop taking the pills since I ran out and no way to get my doctor

    • Mastering Diabetes

      Sounds like a great plan. I assume you are living with type 2 diabetes. I’m not sure of your history, if you’re on meds or how much damage has been done to your pancreas, but it sounds you’re on a great path! —Robby Barbaro

  • Susan Wheeler

    Keep up the good work, get the word out!

  • Susanelizabeth Turner

    Excellent video!

  • andrea a

    Omg I knew it…

  • Sonja V

    is it just “protein” that’s the issue? or is it animal protein (which isn’t just protein, but fat as well)?

    • Sonja V

      +Mastering Diabetes thanks Cyrus.

    • Mastering Diabetes

      In this article they are mainly referring to animal protein, however plant protein contributed to the total protein intake in this study. In general, plant protein does not have nearly the insulin resistance-causing effect of animal protein, but keeing your total protein intake to less than 15% of total calories is the way to ensure that you remain insulin sensitive. —Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

  • Jason Simpson

    It makes complete sense from an evolutionary standpoint. When we would be in periods of starvation and had to eat animal products, we weren’t getting the glucose for immediate fuel, so the body locks up the cells and prevents hypos. Likely part of the same overall process-gluconeogenesis, that turns protein into glucose for energy.

    If someone is worried about doing low protein/low fat because of muscle loss, there are a few things you can do.
    1: Keep lifting a couple times a week. Your body will try to keep muscle for those activities.
    2: Tomatadine (green tomatoes)and Ursolic acid(apples). were both shown in clinical studies to prevent muscle loss.
    3:Take creatine. Creatine has been used to prevent the muscle wasting effects of MD for years, now.
    4: Amino acids. Not any of them and not BCAA’s, but just leucine. Leucine is one of the three BCAAs, but whereas the other two are glucogenic(meaning can be turned into glucose, thus possibly contributing to the insulin resistance), leucine is lipogenic and has also been shown to preserve muscle mass on low calorie diets.

  • Gordon Armstrong

    What was the main protein source for the high protein group?

    • Tara Kemp

      Hi Gordon – for breakfast the subjects ate 2 NuGo energy bars, and for lunch/dinner they were eating eLiving or Lean Cuisine pre-made meals. Then, to add the extra 0.4g/kg body weight in the high protein group, they used whey protein isolate. So most of the protein was coming from animal foods, but of course they were inevitably getting some protein from plant sources as well. Hope that helps! 🙂 – Tara Kemp

  • oneloveinfinity7

    Hey Robby. My 15 month old son just got diagnosed type 1 diabetes. I have found Dr. Morse after reading all of Gaps diet and trying to heal him for about 2 weeks on that… It didn’t feel right…. He has only been diagnosed for a month so I am trying the best i can to reverse his diagnosis.

  • Jpegwun

    And what was considered “High” protein for this study?
    I can eat a ‘high’ protein vegan diet that maxes out at roughly 90g per day, maybe 130-ish if I had a bean pasta package.
    I don’t consider that high. And I’m pretty sure Dr Michael Gregor doesn’t either.

  • John

    The body cannot store protein. The body “recycles” through autophagia about 200 grams of protein/day. The body needs about 30-40 gms of exogenous protein via diet…Extra protein is de-aminated and converted to glucose which is why protein is insulinogenic and increases blood sugar. Ergo, extra protein is just a very expensive form of sugar.

  • Nicolaas Strik

    Thanks for that video. As a type 2, I am making the mistake of a protein shake for breakfast. It sounds like I would be better off with a bowl of oatmeal.

  • Sonja V

    this confuses a LOOOOOT OF people. I shared the summit with my diabetic aunt. she listened in, finished the summit, and then promptly decided to eat daily coconut oil to control her blood sugar, cut potatoes and restrict carbs.

    my sister in law was recently diagnosed pre-diabetic, she decided to switch to a low carb/high protein diet.

    • Sonja V

      +Mastering Diabetes keep doing what you do guys.

    • Mastering Diabetes

      Sonja, thanks for your comment. Sometimes people don’t want to hear this message – our goal is to share the truth! Thanks for sharing the summit with your aunt. —Cyrus Khambatta, PhD

  • Health Glows

    Thanks for sharing! I would just add: no one who wants to be healthy shouldn’t choose a protein rich diet! So, this message is not just for people with diabetes, but for everyone who wants to be healthy! 😉

  • The Artificial Society

    And what about fruit, it’s low protein but a lot of simple sugar and a lot of fructose. Should we moderate fruit to a degree in favor of starches?

  • Skweepa

    I like that you all are talking about this. However, this study has been done on WOMEN only, if I read the title of the study correctly. I think I remember reading that female metabolism reacts differently to any kind of fasting or calorie restriction than men (metabolism and hormonal problems happen in women with certain kinds of intermittent fasting, whereas men do not have problems). It makes me sad that you appear to generalize these results to everyone when this wasn’t conducted on both men and women. TLDR: The results of this study may not be true for men.

    • Skweepa

      Maybe. But if that’s true, it seems odd that researchers decided to make a study of only women.

    • bellavista7

      if you think the results will be significantly different for men, you’re dreaming.

    • Mastering Diabetes

      @skweepa Thank you for your comment. We will certainly be covering more studies that include men as well. Stay tuned. —Robby Barbaro

  • Tiffany X

    I’m already having sensitivity issues and weight gain, but nothing additional seems wrong with me, and my endo and nutritionist suggested a whole food, lower carb diet which I’m finding means higher protein. Should I be pushing back against this? Because combining their suggestions with the info you showed here, I can only eat lettuce. Lmao

    • Mastering Diabetes

      LOL, eating just lettuce would be terrible! I suggest you gather some information and make a more informed choice about which foods to eat. Start with our free online summit which will explain exactly how to loose weight while eating all the whole-food, carbs you want. This includes fruit and foods like potatoes, squashes, rice, quinoa, etc… https://www.masteringdiabetes.org/summit/

      Reading the testimonials on the Forks Over Knives website might also provide some inspiration on how to eat foods you love, reach your ideal weight and completely reverse insulin resistance. https://www.forksoverknives.com/category/success-stories/

      —Robby Barbaro

  • Ray Kelly

    I’ll have to read through the study, but the only problem is people ARE improving their insulin resistance with higher protein

    • Debbie Lund

      I’m a bit confused. Are you saying that as soon as they eat a carb, their blood sugar is worse? If a diabetic’s A1c is better on a high protein diet, how do they know that their insulin resistance is worse?

    • Mastering Diabetes

      We love having discussion and open dialogue. Please share those studies with us. People on low-carb diets can achieve very low A1c numbers and flat line blood glucose curves. But if their insulin sensitivity was assessed with a euglycemic clamp test or oral glucose tolerance test, they would most likely be classified as insulin resistant. —Robby Barbaro

  • Ely Ashkar

    what if I m a bodybuilder and cutting for summer.. needs arround 150 grams of protein…. any idea how to do it with ur preachings ? :p

    • Mastering Diabetes

      Hey Ely, it’s actually not necessary to eat 150 grams of protein per day – many people in the bodybuilding world overexaggerate the need for protein. Is protein important? Absolutely, but glucose stimulates amino acid uptake as well. In other words, eating meals high in whole carbohydrate energy will stimulate amino acid uptake and protein synthesis.

      I’m not sure how much you weigh, but if we estimate you at 75-80kg, then 150 grams of protein per day is about 2 grams per kilogram protein. You can still be a champion bodybuilder and strength athlete with a protein intake closer to 0.8-1.2 grams per kilogram. So if you were to drop your protein intake to about 65-90 grams per day, you will likely not sacrifice muscle mass.

  • Kristin Wuhrman

    Fabulous!!