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Did you know that carbohydrates aren’t the only nutrient that can increase blood sugar? Yes, you heard that right! Despite what you may have been told, protein can actually raise your blood sugar. Here’s what you need to know:
How does protein affect blood sugar?
Protein is typically digested over a 2-4 hour timeframe which is much slower than carbohydrates that are digested within 1-2 hours. Because of this protein typically offsets post-meal blood sugar rises when eaten alongside carbohydrates. However protein is eaten in abundance or by itself, it can actually result in a slow and steady increase in blood sugar after eating.
How much protein gets converted into glucose?
The body will convert protein into glucose when it is needed to supply the brain and body with energy. About 30-50% of protein that is consumed can be converted into glucose. For example, 8oz of chicken breast has 62g of protein which means that 18-31g of protein may require insulin coverage.
How to offset the blood sugar raise from protein
Dosing for protein is tricky because there is no way to know how much protein will get converted into glucose. Doing some investigative work to see how different types and amounts of protein impact your blood sugar or working with a diabetes educator or registered dietitian can be helpful in figuring out strategies that can support your blood sugars.
First time hearing about dosing for protein? Jessica Hrdlicka, RD, CDCES will walk you through everything you need to know on Keeping it 100 Radio: Uncensored Diabetes Conversations Episode 59: T1D Tips: Dosing for Protein. Available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.