Inadequate protein intake associated with functional limitations in diabetics: Study
USA: Low protein intake is associated with physical limitations during tasks such as kneeling and stooping, especially in adults with diabetes, according to findings from a recent study in Nutrients.
The study found that more than half of the diabetic population did not meet recommended protein intake guidelines which were associated with increased functional limitations. Also, in the longer term, low protein intake was found to be associated with an increased risk of muscle loss. This is because protein intake is a critical nutritional factor for the prevention of functional limitations, sarcopenia, and falls.
Diet plays an important role in maintaining health and managing and preventing chronic disease. Type 2 diabetes (diabetes) is a progressive disease affecting over 400 million people worldwide. The disease is associated with an increased risk of sarcopenia. Sarcopenia in turn is associated with an increased risk for fractures, falls, and mortality.
Stephanie M. Fanelli, Medical Dietetics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA, and colleagues aimed to explore relationships among nutrient intakes, diet quality, and functional limitations in a sample of adults across levels of glycemic control.
For this purpose, the researcher examined data from 23,487 non-institutionalized adults, 31 years and older, from the 2005–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Hemoglobin A1c (%) was used to classify level of glycemic control: non-diabetes (<5.7%); pre-diabetes (5.7–6.4%); diabetes (≥6.5%).
Dietary data were collected from a single 24-h dietary recall. Participants were categorized as meeting or below the protein recommendation of 0.8 g/kg of body weight. Physical functioning was assessed across 19-discrete physical tasks.
The research yielded the following findings:
- Adults below the protein recommendation consumed significantly more carbohydrate and had lower diet quality across all glycemic groups compared to those who met the protein recommendation.
- Adults with diabetes who did not meet protein recommendations had significantly poorer diet quality and significantly higher mean number of functional limitations.
- A greater percent of adults with diabetes who did not meet the protein recommendation reported being physically limited for most activities, with more than half (52%) reporting limitations for stooping, crouching, and kneeling.
"This study underscores the potential for physical limitations associated with low protein intakes, especially in adults with diabetes," wrote the authors. "In the longer term, low protein intakes may result in an increased risk of muscle loss, as protein intake is a critical nutritional factor for prevention of sarcopenia, functional limitations, and falls."
The study titled, "Low Protein Intakes and Poor Diet Quality Associate with Functional Limitations in US Adults with Diabetes: A 2005–2016 NHANES Analysis," is published in the journal Nutrients.