High-protein breakfast can help women achieve better glucose control

While diabetics may already know that protein is essential for helping to balance blood sugar, a new study reveals that healthy women without diabetes can also benefit from choosing high-protein foods at the beginning of the day.

A University of Missouri researcher found that women who consumed high-protein breakfasts were able to maintain better glucose and insulin control than women who ate low- or no-protein meals.

"For women, eating more protein in the morning can beneficially affect their glucose and insulin levels," said Heather Leidy, an assistant professor of nutrition and exercise physiology. "If you eat healthy now and consume foods that help you control your glucose levels, you may be protecting yourself from developing diabetes in the future."

Getting the right nutrient balance

For the study, researchers had women between the ages of 18 and 55 consume one of three different meals (or only water) on four consecutive days. All of the meals were under 300 calories and included similar amounts of fiber and fat - with varied amounts of protein.

Monitoring the participants' blood glucose and insulin levels for four hours after they ate, the researchers found that protein-rich meals led to fewer post-meal spikes in blood sugar. Also, meals with 39 grams of protein led to fewer spikes than meals with 30 grams of protein, suggesting that increasing protein consumption by just a few grams can help stabilize blood sugar better.

"Since most American women consume only about 10-15 grams of protein during breakfast, the 30-39 grams might seem like a challenging dietary change," Leidy said.

Yet with the right preparation, he explained, eating more protein could provide important benefits for both healthy women and women with pre-diabetes.

Source: Science Daily

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