We previously have reported that protein, on a weight basis, is just as potent as glucose in increasing the insulin concentration in people with type 2 diabetes. In people without diabetes, protein is only approximately 30% as potent as glucose in this regard. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that the increased insulin responsiveness to protein in people with type 2 diabetes is due to the elevated plasma glucose concentration in these individuals. Seven male subjects with untreated type 2 diabetes were given 50 g protein in the form of very lean beef at 8 AM after an overnight fast. On another occasion, the same individuals were fasted for an additional 24 hours to lower their plasma glucose concentration to near the normal reference range. They were then given 50 g protein. The 8 AM glucose concentration was lower after 24 hours of additional fasting, as expected. After ingestion of the protein meal, there was an unexpected, modest increase in glucose concentration after an additional 24 hours of fasting that was not observed with only an overnight fast. Despite the approximately 15% lower plasma glucose concentration at the time of the protein meal, the insulin responses were nearly identical. Thus, the greater insulin response to ingested protein is not likely to be due merely to a higher initial glucose concentration.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
From the Metabolic Research Laboratory, Section of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition, Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Minneapolis; and the Departments of Medicine and Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Submitted September 18, 2001; accepted February 26, 2002. Supported by Merit Review Research Funds from the Medical Research Service, Department of Veterans Affairs and a grant from the Minnesota Beef Council. A.S. and S.A.J. are Endocrine Fellows. Address reprint requests to Mary C. Gannon, PhD, Director, Metabolic Research Laboratory (111G), VA Medical Center, One Veterans Dr, Minneapolis, MN 55417. Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved. 0026-0495/02/5108-0013$35.00/0 doi:10.1053/meta.2002.34033