Atkins versus the vegans

Dr Fung also noted that the Atkins approach often doesn’t work over the long term because things other than carbohydrates require insulin.

The food insulin index data demonstrates that a number of high protein foods such as steak, cheddar cheese, white fish and tuna cause a significant insulin response even though they contain minimal carbohydrate.


The irony of low carbers eating protein to avoid carbs to minimise insulin secretion although the insulin index data shows that protein foods cause a significant insulin effect has not been lost on the vegan community as shown in this thought provoking video below.

In response to this, Gary Taubes has acknowledged that protein does stimulate insulin, however has stated that

“the assumption has always been that this effect is small compared to that of carbohydrates, and that it is muted because protein takes considerably longer to digest.”

Is protein a significant issue an issue for people trying to control blood sugar and reduce the insulinogenic load of their food?

Does the fact that protein takes longer to digest mean that the insulin secreted in response to protein doesn’t matter?

Perhaps the food insulin index data can help us find the answer.

[next article…  how much insulin is required to cover protein?] [this post is part of the insulin index series] [Like what you’re reading?  Skip to the full story here.]

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Marty Kendall

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  • trekkiemaiden says:

    Hiya, I hate that site!! Just makes me frustrated and sad when I take a look, but in the comments amongst the discussion you link to above I saw this:

    I am a long time supporter, thanks Dr. Greger but I might disagree on part of your video. It is my impression from reading the original paper ( which is also the graph that Dr. Greger showed in the video) that meat/fish increased “insulin to glucose ratio” higher than fruits and other carbs, not the actual insulin level (which was the other way around). Is that right? thanks.

    Michael Greger M.D. NF Staff Adonis Maiquez, MD • 4 months ago

    No I do cite the actual insulin level not the ratio–sorry if you were confused! The numbers in the graph come from column 6 in table 4 on page 1269 (available free full-text here), the insulin per gram of serving weight. So for example a large apple weighs about 200 grams, so 20 (pmol)(min)/(L)(g) times 200g = 4000 (pmol)(min)/(L) = 40 (micromol)(min)/daL, which is what I have in the graph. So servings of apples, and oatmeal, and even white flour pasta cause less of an insulin spike than servings of beef and fish (and chicken and pork accordingly).

    What on earth does this mean? Is he in fact correct or just skewing the numbers to suit his argument? White pasta causes less of a spike than beef????? Can you help please? xx

  • paul melvin says:

    You may have some things correct about not over indulging in protein but please educate yourself on cholesterol. When you talk about an LCHF diet ‘raising dangerous LDL’ I’m afraid i cannot take you seriously….

  • Johannes Herbst says:

    Forget about diet. Just fast for some days up to weeks. Your insulin resistance will be gone. Your weight will be down. I lost 55 pounds in three months using one meal a day and fasting up to two weeks.

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