A study by scientists at the University of Eastern Finland suggests the importance of eating protein sources for reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Earlier research on the association of animal versus plant protein with death risk showed that plant protein was associated with lower mortality, especially from cardiovascular disease – a common diabetes complication.
This new study assessed the long-term health outcomes linked to the intake of proteins from different sources, including plant, meat, dairy and egg, for the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Researchers followed 2,332 middle-aged Finnish men for almost 20 years, all of whom took part in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor study, and had been getting the bulk of their protein from either animal or plant foods.
During the study, 432 participants went on to develop type 2 diabetes, and a number of apparent associations were observed between the types of protein ingested and type 2 diabetes risks. These associations were drawn from food questionnaires filled out by participants.
Plant protein was associated with lower blood sugar levels at the beginning of the study, while those with the highest intake of plant protein had a 35 per cent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those with the lowest intake of plant protein.
When considering the origin particularities of the animal proteins consumed by all these men, meat or dairy product protein intakes were not associated with a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
However, it was the consumption of plant protein that carried the lowest risk of type 2 diabetes, while egg protein intake appeared to be the second best option.
Through computational projections, researchers were able to determine that replacing one per cent of daily calories from animal protein (approximately five grams) with plant protein was associated with an 18 per cent decreased risk of type 2 diabetes.
The findings appear online in the British Journal of Information.
For more information on eating a healthy diet to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes, visit our award-winning Low Carb Program.

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