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Community Q&A: Diabetic Patients’ Questions and Answers

Why doesn't protein increase glucose levels, even though its calorie equivalence is the same as that of carbohydrates?

Protein, unlike carbohydrates, does not significantly raise blood glucose levels because it has a minimal effect on insulin secretion and insulin resistance. While both protein and carbohydrates provide calories, their metabolic pathways differ.

When we consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and triggers the release of insulin from the pancreas. Insulin helps transport glucose from the blood into the cells, thereby reducing blood glucose levels.

Protein, on the other hand, is broken down into amino acids during digestion. These amino acids are primarily used for protein synthesis, tissue repair, and other essential functions in the body. Only a small portion of amino acids can be converted into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. However, this conversion is regulated by the body’s needs, and it occurs at a slower rate compared to the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

As a result, protein consumption has a minimal impact on blood glucose levels, making it a favorable food choice for individuals with diabetes. Additionally, protein-rich foods tend to have a more satiating effect, which can help control appetite and contribute to better weight management.

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