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Diet Rich in Plant Protein May Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
* 1 , 2 , 1 , 1 , 1 , 3 , 1 , 4
1  Department of Human Sciences and Promotion of the Quality of Life, San Raffaele Roma Open University, 00166 Rome, Italy
2  Institute of Clinical Biochemistry, Clinical Molecular Medicine and Laboratory Medicine, Department of Biomedicine, Neuroscience and Advanced Diagnostics, University of Palermo, 90127 Palermo, Italy
3  The Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute, Department of Neurology, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33136, USA
4  Department of Systems Medicine, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, 00133 Rome, Italy


Purpose : The aim is to show the ideal protein quality and quantity and the dietary composition for the prevention and metabolic control of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

Introduction Although some reviews demonstrate the advantages of a diet with a higher protein intake, other reviews have observed that a diet high in carbohydrates, with low-glycaemic index carbohydrates and good fibre intake, is equally effective in improving insulin sensitivity.

Methods Over 2831 articles were screened, and 24 from the last 5 years were analysed and summarised for this review, using the protein, diabetes and insulin glucose metabolic keywords in Pubmed in June 2019.

Results Eleven studies demonstrate that a higher consumption of proteins has a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. A higher intake of animal protein seems to be related to an increased risk of T2DM. Four studies show that consumption of meat has a deleterious effect. Higher intake of plant protein and dairy products is associated with a modestly reduced risk.

Discussion Based on the results obtained, for the prevention of T2DM and all disorders related to metabolic syndrome, no ideal dietary composition has yet been found. The advantage of plant protein sources may be related to the foodslow-glycaemic index due to the high fibre content. However, the right protein quality (animal and plant) and the quantity for T2DM prevention and metabolic control are unclear and need to be investigated with further long-term studies.

Keywords: Type 2 diabetes, Protein, Plant, Quality, Intake, Diet