New Study: Half of Americans Living with Diabetes May be Consuming Less Than the Recommended Amount of Protein, which is Associated with Greater Physical Limitations - Jul 29, 2021
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New Study: Half of Americans Living with Diabetes May be Consuming Less Than the Recommended Amount of Protein, which is Associated with Greater Physical Limitations
- Patients with diabetes who did not meet the recommended daily intake of protein had greater physical limitations, which together may suggest an increased risk of muscle loss
- Abbott's line of nutrition products scientifically designed for people with diabetes now includes Glucerna® 30g protein shakes to help people with diabetes meet important daily protein consumption goals

ABBOTT PARK, Ill., July 29, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study conducted by The Ohio State University and Abbott (NYSE: ABT) showed that half of the adults surveyed living with diabetes did not consume the daily recommended intake of protein, which is associated with lower diet quality, increased carbohydrate intake, and greater physical limitations. The study highlights protein intake as an essential and often overlooked consideration in meeting the nutritional needs of people living with diabetes and its importance in supporting strength and mobility.  

"We've long studied the impact of sugar consumption in people living with diabetes, but new data shed light on the critical association between low protein intake and diabetes," said Christopher Taylor, Ph.D. R.D., lead researcher, and professor of Medical Dietetics at The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. "Diabetes is associated with a risk for developing low muscle mass, which can lead to falls and other injuries. That's why protein consumption—and awareness of the need for it—is critical to maintaining muscle mass and preserving functional mobility, which can help people living with diabetes live stronger overall lives."

Published in the scientific journal of human nutrition, Nutrients, the retrospective cross-sectional analysis examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) collected between 2005 and 2016 from more than 23,000 adults in the U.S. Key findings from the analysis include:

  • People living with diabetes who did not consume the daily recommendation of protein on the day of intake reported a higher prevalence of physical limitations, including difficulty completing basic movements, such as stooping, crouching, kneeling, standing for long periods, and pushing or pulling large objects.
  • Adults with diabetes who met protein recommendations had better overall diet quality, more closely meeting dietary recommendations for total daily intake of vegetables, whole grains, dairy and added sugars.
  • People with diabetes who exhibited low protein intake showed significantly poorer nutrient density, lower overall diet quality, and consumed 12.5% more carbohydrates, which may negatively impact glucose levels.

"This study highlights the importance of the quality of foods in our diet as well as the quantity of nutrients we need daily—both of which have a significant impact on health and mobility, especially for people living with diabetes," said Sara Thomas, Ph.D., R.D.N., a research scientist and dietitian at Abbott specializing in diabetes. "Nutrition education will help people successfully manage a condition like diabetes, emphasizing the need to achieve a well-rounded diet with the right nutrients and avoid foods that are detrimental to optimal health."  

Abbott developed the Glucerna 30g protein shake made with CARBSTEADY® (a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates) and 30 grams of protein per serving, to help people with diabetes more easily meet important daily protein needs. Additionally, the Glucerna Path to Progress program, which encourages people with diabetes to swap poor food choices with more nutritious options, provides people with access to nutrition-focused information and education to support them in successfully managing the condition.

Understanding the recommended daily intake requirements for macronutrients like protein, fat and carbohydrates, and more than 25 vitamins and minerals can be complicated. The National Academy of Medicine, formerly the Institute of Medicine, developed the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs), a set of reference values used to plan and assess nutrient intakes and provide recommended consumption levels. The DRIs recommend adults consume 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body mass each day, which means that a person weighing 150 pounds should consume 54 grams of protein per day. The DRI calculator can help determine individual nutrient needs for overall micro-and macronutrient intakes. Individuals should discuss results with a healthcare professional.

"This new research underscores Abbott's long-time focus on diabetes care and will help us continue to support people living with this condition," said Matt Beebe, divisional vice president and general manager of Abbott's U.S. nutrition business. "At Abbott, we are continually working to advance our understanding so that we can enable a more holistic approach to managing diabetes from the point of diagnosis with industry-leading glucose monitoring and world-class nutrition."

Glucerna 30g protein shakes are available online at, and can be found at major retailers online and in-store locations, including Amazon and CVS. Glucerna, the no. 1 doctor recommended nutrition brand for people with diabetes1, is scientifically designed for people living with diabetes and intended to be used under medical supervision as part of a diabetes management plan. 

Abbott is also the global leader in continuous glucose monitoring devices2 with its FreeStyle Libre technology. Abbott's FreeStyle Libre portfolio has changed the lives of more than 3 million people3 across more than 50 countries by providing breakthrough technology that is accessible and affordable4. Abbott has secured partial or full reimbursement for the FreeStyle Libre portfolio in 37 countries, including Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. For more information, visit, and for Indications and Important Safety Information, visit

About Abbott
Abbott is a global healthcare leader that helps people live more fully at all stages of life. Our portfolio of life-changing technologies spans the spectrum of healthcare, with leading businesses and products in diagnostics, medical devices, nutritionals and branded generic medicines. Our 109,000 colleagues serve people in more than 160 countries.

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1 In the U.S. only
2 Data on file, Abbott Diabetes Care. Data based on the number of users worldwide for the FreeStyle Libre system compared to the number of users for other leading personal-use, sensor-based glucose monitoring systems
3 Data on file, Abbott Diabetes Care
4 Based on a comparison of list prices of the FreeStyle Libre 14 day system versus competitors' CGM systems. FreeStyle Libre 2 system will be list priced the same rate as FreeStyle Libre 14 day system. The actual cost to patients may or may not be lower than other CGM systems, depending on the amount covered by insurance, if any



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