How does protein help manage diabetes?

Janis Jibrin, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
The right amount of protein helps manage diabetes in a few ways. First, it will help take the edge off hunger and can speed up your weight loss, which, in turn can lower your blood sugar level. Plus, protein has a few other tricks up its sleeve. Pairing protein-rich foods with carbohydrates slows the rise in blood sugar. For instance, by topping your pasta and tomato sauce with grilled chicken, your blood sugar level will take longer to peak than if you'd skipped the chicken, because protein stimulates insulin release (in those of you who still produce insulin). In addition, protein causes your stomach to empty more slowly, so when the chicken and pasta hit your stomach, they stick around a little longer. This in turn delays the starch from reaching your gut, where it's turned into glucose before entering your bloodstream. This delayed gastric emptying helps prevent sharp spikes in blood sugar. That's the reason we encourage you to have your daily treat immediately after a meal instead of by itself. Including protein (and fat) in your meals will cause a more gradual and smaller rise in your blood sugar levels.
The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

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The Best Life Guide to Managing Diabetes and Pre-Diabetes

Bob Greene has helped millions of Americans become fit and healthy with his life-changing Best Life plan. Now, for the first time, Oprah's trusted expert on diet and fitness teams up with a leading...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.