From the September 2003 edition of Dr. Fuhrman's Healthy Times:
So-called “high-protein,” animal-based diets are particularly dangerous for diabetics. Many diabetes “experts” and authors recommend that diabetics limit their intake of refined grains and simple sugars. As a result, most people have accepted the faulty logic that if sugar and refined grains and other high-glycemic foods raise blood sugar and triglycerides, we should eat more protein instead of carbohydrate. They attempt to overcome the triglyceride-raising problems seen in those eating typical high-carbohydrate diets by recommending a diet based on animal products.
Carbohydrate-restricted diets rich in animal products, often called “high-protein diets,” offer some short-term improvement in glucose control and weight loss. The problem with them is the increased protein intake promotes the progression of diabetic kidney disease, and the higher saturated fat intake raises cholesterol and promotes heart disease. I have observed numerous diabetic patients over the years who caused significant damage to their kidneys attempting to improve diabetic control with such high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets.
High-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diets also are heart unfriendly. One comprehensive study on the Atkins’ approach showed that after one year on the diet, blood flow to the heart diminished by an average of 40 percent and inflammatory markers that predict heart attacks increased.1 The low levels of plant fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidant nutrients on these unbalanced, low produce diets expose the diabetic patient to additional risks. So-called “high-protein diets” may be short-term diabetic-favorable, but they are long-term dangerous.
The low-glycemic benefits of “high-protein” diets are achieved by the high-fiber, vegetable/bean/ nut-based Eat to Live (ETL) approach that I recommend, without the health problems linked to eating so many animal products. In addition, because the overall ETL diet contains high levels of fiber and micronutrients that cause triglycerides and blood sugars to fall dramatically, diabetics on this program can consume small portions of fruit safely, allowing them to enjoy the nutritional benefits of these healthful foods. The ETL program is the healthiest way to reverse diabetes.
For more of Dr. Fuhrman's thoughts about meat-based diets and diabetes, check out these previous posts:
- Dr. Fuhrman: Low Carb vs. Eat to Live in Diabetes Reversal
- The Misinformation of Barry Groves and Weston Price
1. Fleming RM. The effect of high-protein diets on coronary blood flow. Angiology 2000;51(10): 817-826.