Many misconceptions surround the role of dietary protein in the management of diabetes. Although dietary recommendations for managing diabetes have changed greatly over the centuries, recommended protein intake has remained relatively constant. Currently, recommendations for protein intake are based on individual assessment and the consideration of other health issues and implications, such as the extent of glycemic control, the presence of kidney disease, overweight and obesity, and the age of the patient. Two common misconceptions about dietary protein in diabetes management are that a certain amount of the protein consumed is converted into blood glucose and that consuming too much protein can lead to diabetic kidney disease. These misconceptions have been disproven. For many people with type 2 diabetes, aiming for 20–30% of total energy intake as protein is the goal. Exceptions may be for those individuals with impaired renal function. A protein intake of this amount can be beneficial by improving glycemic control, aiding in satiety and preservation of lean body mass during weight loss in those with both diabetes and prediabetes, and providing for the increased protein requirements of the older adult. Health care providers should discuss the role of dietary protein with their patients, reinforce sources of protein in the diet, and use simple but effective teaching tools, such as the plate method, to convey important nutrition messages. In addition, health care providers should recognize that persons with diabetes are attempting to manage many other aspects of their diabetes, including blood glucose monitoring, physical activity, taking of medication, risk reduction, and problem solving.
Campbell, A and Rains, T, , Dietary Protein Is Important in the Practical Management of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes, The Journal of Nutrition, 1 January 2015, http://jn.nutrition.org/content/early/2014/12/03/jn.114.194878