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Dietary protein intake and risk of T2D

In the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, 21,523 participants who were free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and kidney stones at baseline were followed up from 1990 to 2007. The investigators sought to establish if dietary protein was associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. They found that higher intakes of total and animal protein were both associated with increased risks of type 2 diabetes, whereas higher plant protein intake tended to be associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

By Colin Kenny, GP, Dromore

It had been speculated that higher intake of dietary protein, especially animal protein, is associated with the development of diabetes. Investigators used data from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, which was set up in the early 1990s to investigate the role of diet and other lifestyle factors in causing common chronic diseases. Over 41,000 people aged 40–69 have been recruited. In this analysis, 21,523 individuals (61.7% of them women) were followed up, and total and animal protein intakes as percentages of energy were recorded.

A total of 929 new cases (4.3%) of type 2 diabetes were documented during a mean of 11.7 years’ follow-up. Higher intakes of total and animal protein were both associated with increased risks of type 2 diabetes, while an inverse association between plant protein intake and type 2 diabetes was observed in women. This inverse association was also found in a meta-analysis that the investigators conducted.

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