This article was first published on February 10, 2023. It was last reviewed/ updated on February 11, 2023.
Persons with mental health problems are more likely than others to have overweight or obesity, insulin resistance, impaired glucose tolerance, and even diabetes mellitus.
How can increasing the intake of high-protein foods help?
Reduction in hyperglycemia and risk of type 2 diabetes
1. Foods with a high protein content help reduce the increase in blood sugar after meals or “post-prandial hyperglycemia”(Luhovyy and Kathirvel, 2022).
2. Knowing which foods have high protein content is necessary for guiding patients in reducing their intake of red meat, which (besides improving dyslipidemia) reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes (Würtz et al., 2021).
Potential benefits for older adults
1. In older adults, intake of high-protein foods was found to be associated with associated with better physical performance, gait speed , and functional capacity (Kimura et al., 2021; Bradlee et al., 2017).
2. Higher intake of protein in the diet is also associated in older adults with preservation of muscle mass, though in the case of plant sources of protein only in those who were also physically active (Bradlee et al., 2017).
Note: Since a high-protein diet increases satiety, there can be a concern that it may lead to decreased nutritional intake in elderly persons. But increasing dietary protein intake in older adults was found to not increase satiety or affect gut microbiota (Fluitman et al., 2023).
Increase protein intake during calorie restriction
People with overweight or obesity who start calorie restriction to lose weight should be advised to increase dietary protein intake to prevent muscle loss (Giglio et al., 2022).
Next, a simple and practical way of deciding which high-protein foods to choose, please see the following article on this website:
Nutrition and diet
Bradlee ML, Mustafa J, Singer MR, Moore LL. High-Protein Foods and Physical Activity Protect Against Age-Related Muscle Loss and Functional Decline. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2017 Dec 12;73(1):88-94. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx070. PMID: 28549098; PMCID: PMC5861873.
Fluitman KS, Wijdeveld M, Davids M, van Ruiten CC, Reinders I, Wijnhoven HAH, Keijser BJF, Visser M, Nieuwdorp M, IJzerman RG. Personalized Dietary Advice to Increase Protein Intake in Older Adults Does Not Affect the Gut Microbiota, Appetite or Central Processing of Food Stimuli in Community-Dwelling Older Adults: A Six-Month Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2023 Jan 9;15(2):332. doi: 10.3390/nu15020332. PMID: 36678203; PMCID: PMC9862486.
Giglio BM, Lobo PCB, Pimentel GD. Effects of whey protein supplementation on adiposity, body weight, and glycemic parameters: A synthesis of evidence. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2022 Sep 28:S0939-4753(22)00397-0. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2022.09.014. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36543706.
Kimura M, Moriyasu A, Makizako H. Positive Association between High Protein Food Intake Frequency and Physical Performance and Higher-Level Functional Capacity in Daily Life. Nutrients. 2021 Dec 24;14(1):72. doi: 10.3390/nu14010072. PMID: 35010947; PMCID: PMC8746446.
Luhovyy BL, Kathirvel P. Food proteins in the regulation of blood glucose control. Adv Food Nutr Res. 2022;102:181-231. doi: 10.1016/bs.afnr.2022.05.001. Epub 2022 Aug 1. PMID: 36064293.
Würtz AML, Jakobsen MU, Bertoia ML, Hou T, Schmidt EB, Willett WC, Overvad K, Sun Q, Manson JE, Hu FB, Rimm EB. Replacing the consumption of red meat with other major dietary protein sources and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus: a prospective cohort study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 Mar 11;113(3):612-621. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/nqaa284. PMID: 33094800; PMCID: PMC7948828.
Yanagisawa Y. How dietary amino acids and high protein diets influence insulin secretion. Physiol Rep. 2023 Jan;11(2):e15577. doi: 10.14814/phy2.15577. PMID: 36695783; PMCID: PMC9875820.
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