Protein for Diabetes
When you think about a diet for diabetes, you probably focus your attention on carbohydrates and sugar intake. But did you know that protein for diabetes is just as important? The protein effect on blood glucose isn’t the same as with carbs, but the food it’s found in can alter blood sugar levels. At the same time, protein is vital for many health reasons, including muscle health and energy levels. So how much protein does a diabetic need? Keep reading to find out.
How Much Protein Should a Diabetic Eat?
Most recommendations of protein for diabetics are very similar to that of the average person. Chances are you won’t need any more than someone without diabetes. In some cases, however, you may need a bit less. Provided you aren’t dealing with any kidney-related side effects, your daily protein intake should make up about 10 to 35 percent of your calories.
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When you choose your protein, it’s important to be sure it’s a quality source. This ensures that you are getting the most nutritional and health benefits from it. Because protein is found in many foods that diabetics should limit or avoid, it’s also necessary to pay attention to where your protein is coming from. Good sources of protein for diabetes include chicken breast, black beans, low-fat milk and eggs. Additionally, the American Diabetes Association suggests eating fish at least once a week. This is a healthy source of protein, but also contributes healthy fats, which are beneficial on a diabetic meal plan.
Nephropathy is a condition that affects the kidneys and is often comorbid with diabetes. Individuals with nephropathy are often advised to follow a low-protein diet. Too much can further damage the kidneys, but not enough poses the risk of nutrient deficiencies. Most of the time, the recommendation for this condition is to eat about 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, but you may need even less than that. Your doctor can help you determine the appropriate amount for your specific needs, especially if you also have diabetic nephropathy.
Balancing protein intake with carbohydrate and fat intake is an important part of anyone’s diet. However, it’s a bit more important for diabetics as you need to be careful to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Quality foods with protein also provide other important nutrients for diabetics. Work with your doctor to create a meal plan you can stick with.
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