Diabetics benefit from high-protein diets without risk

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Obese people with diabetes are able to lose weight on high-protein diets and see improvement in both cardiovascular and renal health, despite initial concerns about the impact on their renal health.

That's according to research conducted by University of Adelaide PhD student Eva Pedersen, who compared the effects of a high-protein and standard diet in a year-long study involving 45 obese people with type 2 diabetes.

The results show that weight loss achieved by both diets resulted in a range of benefits for the participants.

"High-protein diets are commonly used in our community, but concerns have been raised about the potential harmful effects of these diets on diabetic people's renal function, which is often already compromised due to their condition," says senior author Professor Peter Clifton, Affiliate Professor at the University of Adelaide's School of Medicine and Eva Pedersen's supervisor.

Within the first six months of the study, both diets helped the participants to lose weight, with almost 9% of body weight lost by those on the high-protein diet and more than 6% by those on the standard diet. Weight loss in both groups plateaued after that time.

"Far from seeing any problems caused by the high-protein diet, the participants' weight loss resulted in improvements to their renal health, as well as to their overall cardiovascular health and the control of their blood-sugar levels," says Professor Clifton, who is also co-author of the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet book.

"These benefits were seen in participants on both the high-protein diet and the standard diet, which is a good message for diabetic people who are looking to lose weight and improve their wellbeing.

"Even modest weight loss has been shown to provide a range of health improvements for diabetic people."

The results of this study have been published online in the journal Nutrition, Metabolism & Cardiovascular Diseases and in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The study was funded by the University of Adelaide's Centre for Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health and by royalties from the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.


Find an Expert

Contact Details

Professor Peter Clifton (email)
Affiliate Professor, School of Medicine
Centre for Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health
The University of Adelaide
Mobile: +61 (0)403 197 998

Mr David Ellis (email)
Media and Communications Officer
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762