A new study presented at the 2014 Experimental Biology Convention in San Diego, CA urges women to ditch the carbs at breakfast and go for higher-protein meal options. The University of Missouri study indicates that the higher the grams of protein eaten, the better a woman’s glucose and insulin control. Researchers hope their findings will encourage women to up their protein intake at breakfast, thereby reducing their risk of developing diabetes. Researchers are confident that a high-protein breakfast may also help treat those who are already in the stages of pre-diabetes, although further research needs to be conducted.
Pancakes or Eggs?
Healthy non-diabetic women with normal glucose control consumed one of three different meals for breakfast on four consecutive days. Each meal was less than 300 calories and had similar amounts of fat and fiber. The only variable was the amount of protein in each meal. One group of women ate pancakes with 3 grams of protein; a second group ate an egg and sausage skillet consisting of 30 grams of protein; and a third group ate an egg and sausage skillet with 39 grams of protein. Researchers monitored glucose and insulin levels each day for four hours after breakfast.
Researcher Kevin Maki of Biofortis Clinical Research explains the results:
“Both protein-rich breakfasts led to lower spikes in glucose and insulin after meals compared to the low-protein, high-carb breakfast,” Maki said. “Additionally, the higher-protein breakfast containing 39 grams of protein led to lower post-meal spikes compared to the high-protein breakfast with 30 grams of protein.”
The Importance of a Healthy Insulin Response
When you eat, the levels of glucose (sugar) in your blood rise. The pancreas releases insulin to carry the glucose to your body, expressly the liver, fat, and muscle cells. Too much glucose in your blood, and your insulin response is compromised. Your cells become insulin resistant, meaning they won’t let the glucose in. Your pancreas responds by releasing even more insulin! Once your cells are insulin resistant, you’re in the prediabetes stage…and it won’t be long until you have full-blown type 2 diabetes!
Fortunately, you can regulate your insulin response by limiting the amount of sugar and carbohydrates you consume. When you overload on carbs, your body turns them into glucose! Eating fewer carbs at breakfast and more protein is a sound plan overall. The average woman consumes about 10-15 grams of protein for breakfast. Trade in that bowl of granola for some eggs or high-fat yogurt and you’ll be able to increase your protein intake in no time!