Effect of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Blood Glucose Control in People With Type 2 Diabetes

  1. Mary C. Gannon123 and
  2. Frank Q. Nuttall13
  1. 1Metabolic Research Laboratory and the Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition, Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  2. 2Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  3. 3Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Mary C. Gannon, PhD, Metabolic Research Laboratory (111G), VA Medical Center, One Veterans Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417. E-mail: ganno004{at}umn.edu


There has been interest in the effect of various types and amounts of dietary carbohydrates and proteins on blood glucose. On the basis of our previous data, we designed a high-protein/low-carbohydrate, weight-maintaining, nonketogenic diet. Its effect on glucose control in people with untreated type 2 diabetes was determined. We refer to this as a low-biologically-available-glucose (LoBAG) diet. Eight men were studied using a randomized 5-week crossover design with a 5-week washout period. The carbohydrate:protein:fat ratio of the control diet was 55:15:30. The test diet ratio was 20:30:50. Plasma and urinary β-hydroxybutyrate were similar on both diets. The mean 24-h integrated serum glucose at the end of the control and LoBAG diets was 198 and 126 mg/dl, respectively. The percentage of glycohemoglobin was 9.8 ± 0.5 and 7.6 ± 0.3, respectively. It was still decreasing at the end of the LoBAG diet. Thus, the final calculated glycohemoglobin was estimated to be ∼6.3–5.4%. Serum insulin was decreased, and plasma glucagon was increased. Serum cholesterol was unchanged. Thus, a LoBAG diet ingested for 5 weeks dramatically reduced the circulating glucose concentration in people with untreated type 2 diabetes. Potentially, this could be a patient-empowering way to ameliorate hyperglycemia without pharmacological intervention. The long-term effects of such a diet remain to be determined.


    • Accepted June 2, 2004.
    • Received February 5, 2004.
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