High Protein Diet Don’t Reverse Insulin Resistance Says Researchers

Oct 26, 2016

One objective of weight loss is to reverse insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is quite prevalent all over the world worse in western countries. Individuals have always been advised to lose weight to reverse pre-existing insulin resistance. So why has a recent research turned this idea on its head. The answer is not as far-fetched as many think.

Thinking of shedding some pounds with a high protein diet and reverse insulin resistance? Think again. Because one perceived benefit of reversing insulin resistance may not be within reach on such a diet even if successful in losing the weight, says a recent study.

A coupling of being overweight or obese along with insulin resistance is fairly common and this combination is usually a forerunner to the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis carried out a study to confirm if high protein diets do improve insulin sensitivity. They grouped study participants into 3. The study participants were women aged between 50 and 65 years of age. One group ate normal diet with no dieting restrictions, the second group were restricted to standard daily protein allowance in their diet and the third group had a diet that was much higher in protein above recommended daily allowance.

The study revealed weight loss in the both the group that had restricted protein intake and the group with higher than normal protein intake. However, the group with higher than normal protein intake did not show any improvement in insulin sensitivity even though that group lost good amount of weight.

Study author, Bettina Mittendorfer said "Women who lost weight while eating less protein were significantly more sensitive to insulin at the conclusion of the study,"

Worse still is that the high protein diet did very little to preserve lean muscle mass at the end of the study.


Mittendorfer told medicinenet "When weight loss occurs, about two-thirds of it tends to be fat tissue, and the other third is lean tissue. The women who ate more protein did tend to lose a little bit less lean tissue, but the total difference was only about a pound. We question whether there's a significant clinical benefit to such a small difference."

A possible explanation is that protein in itself has the potential to be converted to glucose by the liver, so excess protein consumption over and above the recommended daily requirements is not the best way to lose weight if reversing insulin resistance was one objective.

Still it doesn’t hurt to shed weight. Insulin resistance can be reversed by simply adding some physical activity to any weight loss plan.

More information on how to reverse insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome available through the preceding link.

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