Half of Americans Living with Diabetes May Not Get Enough Protein

Half of Americans Living with Diabetes May Not Get Enough Protein

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A new study highlights protein intake as essential

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AUG. 02, 2021    3 MIN. READ

Like everyone else, people living with diabetes should strive to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. You don't need to cook one meal for yourself and another for the rest of your family. Well-balanced meals, which include lean protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, are healthy for everyone and help manage blood sugar.

When preparing those meals, it is important to prioritize protein.  Protein is a nutrient that has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels and has the added benefits of helping satisfy hunger. Try to aim for 20-25 grams of protein at every meal and find snacks with higher protein quantities.

new study from Abbott and The Ohio State University published in Nutrients that found that half of adults surveyed in the U.S. living with diabetes did  not get enough protein in their diet.

The study highlights protein intake as an essential and often overlooked consideration in meeting the nutritional needs of people living with diabetes and its importance in supporting strength and mobility.

This study highlights the importance of the quality of foods in our diet as well as the quantity of nutrients we need daily—both of which have a significant impact on health and mobility, especially for people living with diabetes.

Sara Thomas, Ph.D., R.D.N., research scientist, and dietitian, Abbott

Researchers examined differences in diet quality, nutrient intakes, and functional limitations by protein intake across people with varying glycemic levels. Here is what they found. 

  • People living with diabetes who did not consume the daily recommendation of protein on the day of intake reported a higher prevalence of physical limitations, including difficulty completing basic movements, such as stooping, crouching, kneeling, standing for long periods, and pushing or pulling large objects.

  • Adults with diabetes who met protein recommendations had better overall diet quality, more closely meeting dietary recommendations for total daily intake of vegetables, whole grains, dairy and added sugars.

  • People with diabetes who exhibited low protein intake reported significantly poorer nutrient density, lower overall diet quality, and consumed 12.5% more carbohydrates, which may negatively impact glucose levels.

“This study highlights the importance of the quality of foods in our diet as well as the quantity of nutrients we need daily—both of which have a significant impact on health and mobility, especially for people living with diabetes,” said Sara Thomas, Ph.D., R.D.N., a research scientist, and dietitian at Abbott specializing in diabetes. “Nutrition education will help people successfully manage a condition like diabetes, emphasizing the need to achieve a well-rounded diet with the right nutrients and avoid foods that are detrimental to optimal health.” 

Abbott developed the Glucerna 30g protein shake made with CARBSTEADY® (a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates) and 30 grams of protein per 11 fl oz serving, to help people with diabetes more easily meet important daily protein needs. Additionally, the Glucerna Path to Progress program, which encourages people with diabetes to swap poor food choices with more nutritious options, provides people with access to nutrition-focused information and education to support them in successfully managing the condition.

Managing blood sugar is an ongoing process. Your nutrition needs might change during your life, depending on the progress of your condition. Learning as much as you can about diabetes nutrition is the best way to manage your blood sugar and live your best life.

Tips for Reducing Prediabetes Risk in Teens | Abbott Nutrition

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Prediabetes is increasingly affecting children and young adults in the United States. A new survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that around one in five adolescents (ages 12–18) and one in four young adults (ages 19–34) in the U.S. are now living with prediabetes.

People diagnosed with this condition have an excess of sugar in their blood, but not high enough to be called diabetes, which can cause damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves over time. They're also at an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and the complications associated with diabetes. However, by incorporating good eating and exercise habits, this diagnosis can oftentimes be reversed. 

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Nutrition Changes May Lower Blood Sugar | Abbott Nutrition

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and another 1 in 5 people don’t know they have the chronic condition. As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, it’s more important than ever to adopt healthy habits and strategies to manage diabetes. Keeping your glucose in check is of the utmost importance when you're managing type 2 diabetes. Often, ensuring your glucose levels stay within a healthy range requires a multifaced approach of a healthy eating plan and exercise along with potential medication.

Managing diabetes doesn't have to feel like work, though. In fact, even slight behavior and eating plan changes may have a significant impact on your glucose management. And according to a new pilot study, diabetes specific nutrition as part of a balanced diet shows promise to help improve glucose management.

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Scientifically designed to help minimize blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes and add protein to their diets.


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