Today’s episode is a relatively short one, so I thought I would start by giving you a 5 minute sample of my new memoir, called Helpers Anonymous (now on audible and itunes. If you are interested in listening to the audio version of the memoir, you could send me your first name and email address and I will email you one of the free audible codes for the book. If you want another version and just prefer to get it yourself, the paperback, ebook, and audio versions can be found on Amazon, right here.

The question today is not about whether proteins are essential for life and if we need to get them from food. It is and we do. Today we are talking about the source of the protein, plant versus animal. And more specifically, does one type of protein influence blood sugar control or insulin resistance?

As it turns out, an abundance of branched-chain amino acids from animal protein, may be associated with insulin resistance or even type II diabetes. The National Institute for Health (NIH) has put out several journal articles, like this one, reporting that people with type II diabetes have higher levels of branched-chain amino acids than control subjects. Another more detailed NIH article goes into the connection in more detail. The title is “the emerging role of Branched-chain Amino acids in insulin resistance and Metabolism.”

But the entire role of branched-chain amino acids is still unclear. One NIH article suggested that when branched-chain amino acids were taken as supplements by the military to guard against traumatic brain injury, they may have been effective. However, they do not increase the growth of brain cells.

The reason that there is no clear-cut proof that animal protein causes an increased risk of insulin resistance, may be that it’s just complicated. One possible explanation that is being investigated is that it may be more to do with altered gene expressions, caused by mutations. Whatever it is, the problem is related to protein that comes from animals, not plants.