Both High-Protein and Normal-Protein Diets Are Effective for T2D Management

106 adults with T2D were randomly assigned to either the high-protein or normal-protein diet for 52 weeks. Both diets were energy-restricted. The high-protein diet included recommendations to include lean beef in the diet, while the normal-protein diet instructed participants to refrain from eating any red meats. The team of researchers found that both a high-protein diet and a moderate-protein diet were effective in improving glucose control, weight loss and body composition in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Lead author James O. Hill, and co-author Drew Sayer, Ph.D., say that in this context of comparing two overall healthy dietary patterns that differ in the amounts of dietary protein and carbohydrate, as well as the inclusion/exclusion of lean, minimally processed beef, the results here show an individual can have some flexibility to choose a dietary pattern that most closely matches their preferences and that they are mostly like to stick with in the long term.

In the multi-site, randomized controlled trial, 71 study participants followed a higher-protein diet with four or more 4- to 6-ounce servings of lean beef per week (as the only source of red meat) or a normal-protein diet with no red meat, for 52 weeks.

 The high-protein diet was composed of 40 percent protein, 32 percent carbohydrate and 28 percent fat of total energy — while the normal-protein diet was composed of 21 percent protein, 53 percent carbohydrate and 26 percent fat of total energy (which is higher in protein than the average American diet, with protein intake averaging 14-16 percent of total energy).


Julianne G. Clina, R. Drew Sayer, Zhaoxing Pan, Caroline W. Cohen, Michael T. McDermott, Victoria A. Catenacci, Holly R. Wyatt, James O. Hill. High‐ and normal‐protein diets improve body composition and glucose control in adults with type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. Obesity, 2023; 31 (8): 2021 DOI: 10.1002/oby.23815

University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Both high-protein and normal-protein diets are effective for T2D management.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 September 2023. <>.

Materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Original written by Adam Pope. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Images from:

Photo by Brooke Lark