Are Branched-Chain Amino Acids Good for Us? 

I discuss why we may not want to exceed the recommended protein intake.

Diabetes is not just about the amount of body fat, but also about the distribution of body fat. At 0:26 in my video Are BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) healthy?, you can see cross sections of thighs from two different patients using MRI. In the images, the fat appears white and the thigh muscle appears black. At first glance, you might think that the bottom cross section has more fat since it is surrounded by more white. That is the subcutaneous Fat, the fat under the skin. But, if you look at the top cross section, you’ll see how the middle of the thigh muscle is more marbled with fat, like those really fatty Japanese beef steaks. That is the fat that infiltrates the muscle. In the following graph and at minute 0:48 of my video, the two cross sections are colored so you can see the different types of fat: fat infiltrating the muscle in red, fat between the muscles in green, and subcutaneous fat outside the muscles and under the skin in yellow . If you add up the three types of fat, both thighs actually have the same amount of fat, just distributed differently.

This seems be the critical factor in determining insulin resistance, the cause of type 2 diabetes. The researchers found that subcutaneous adipose tissue, the fat found just under the skin, was not associated with insulin resistance. Going back to the two cross sections, as seen below and at 1:20 in my videohe is It is healthier to have the lower thigh with the thickest ring of subcutaneous fat but less fat infiltrated into the muscle than the upper thigh with more fat present in the muscle.

Is it possible that a more plant-based diet also affects healthier fat distribution?

We now know the effect of a vegetarian diet versus a conventional diabetic diet on thigh fat distribution in patients with type 2 diabetes. Researchers took 74 people with diabetes and randomly assigned them to follow a vegetarian diet or a conventional diabetic diet. Both diets were calorie restricted at the same amount of calories. The vegetarian diet also contained no eggs and dairy was limited to a maximum of one serving of low-fat yogurt per day. What did the researchers find? The reduction of more benign subcutaneous fat was comparable; It was more or less the same in both groups. However, the most dangerous fat (the fat lodged within the muscle itself) “was reduced only in response to a vegetarian diet.” Therefore, even consuming the same amount of calories, there may be healthier weight loss with a more plant-based diet.

Those eating Strictly plant-based products also had lower levels of fat trapped within individual muscle fibers, which may help explain why vegans in particular are They are often found to have the lowest odds of diabetes. It’s not just because vegans are generally thinner, either. Even if you compare subjects pound for pound, there is significantly less fat within the muscle cells of vegans compared to omnivores. This is a good thing, since fat storage in muscle cells “may be a major cause of insulin resistance,” which is the cause of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, if you put someone on a high-fat diet, the fat in their muscle cells shoot increased 54 percent in just one week.

What about a high protein diet? Which can undermine one of the main benefits of weight loss: eliminating the improvement in insulin resistance induced by weight loss. Researchers put obese people on a calorie-restricted diet of less than 1,400 calories per day until they lost 10 percent of their body weight. Half of the participants had a higher protein intake (73 grams per day) and the other half followed a high-protein diet (about 105 grams per day). Typically, if you lose 10 percent of your body weight, your insulin resistance improves. This is why it is so important for obese people with type 2 diabetes to lose weight. However, the beneficial effect of a 10 percent weight loss was eliminated by high protein intake. Those extra 32 grams of protein a day negated the weight loss benefit. “Failure to improve… insulin sensitivity in WL-HP [weight-loss high-protein] The group is clinically important because it reflects the inability to improve an important pathophysiological aspect. [cause-and-effect] Mechanism involved in the development of type 2 diabetes”, type 2 diabetes. In summary, the researchers concluded that they demonstrated that “the protein content of a weight-loss diet can have profound effects on metabolic function.”

Is this true for any protein? As you can see below and at minute 4:19 in my videoif you split When comparing animal protein to plant protein, following people over time, animal protein intake is associated with an increased risk of diabetes in most studies.

However, plant protein intake appears to have a neutral or even protective association with diabetes, as shown below and at 4:25 in my video.

However, those were only observational studies. People who eat a lot of animal protein can engage in many unhealthy behaviors. However, you see The same is true in interventional, controlled, randomized trials, where blood sugar control can be improved simply by replacing animal protein sources with plant protein.

Us think They may be the branched chain amino acids concentrated in animal protein. The highest levels in the bloodstream are associated with obesity and the development of insulin resistance. As you can see below and at 5:00 in my videoit is possible that we can drop our levels by sticking to plant proteins, but you don’t know if that has metabolic effects until you put it to the test.

Ruining the suspense, investigators noble their study: “Decreasing consumption of branched-chain amino acids improves metabolic health.” They showed that “a moderate reduction in total dietary protein or selected amino acids can rapidly improve metabolic health,” and this included improving blood sugar control while decreasing body mass index (BMI) and fat. bodily. As you can see at minute 5:27 in my videothe protein restricted group was eating hundreds more calories per day, significantly more calories than the control group, so they should have gained weight. But not. They lost weight! After about a month and a half, they ate more calories but lost more weight—about five pounds more than the control group participants who ate fewer calories, as you can see at 5:38 in my video. What’s more, this “protein restriction” made people eat The recommended amount of protein per day, about 56 grams daily. They should have been called group of normal proteins or the recommended protein group Instead, and the group that ate levels of protein more typical of Americans and suffered for it should have been called the excess protein group. Simply following the recommended protein intake also doubled levels of a longevity-prolonging hormone called FGF21, but we’ll leave that for another discussion.

To better understand the negative impact of omnivores consuming too much protein compared to vegetarians, watch my video. Flashback Friday: Do Vegetarians Get Enough Protein?.

I have several additional videos and blogs that can help explain some of the benefits of plant-based proteins. Check out related posts below.

Of course, the best way to treat type 2 diabetes is to get rid of it by treating the underlying cause, as described in my video. How not to die from diabetes.

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