Our objective was to examine if a high animal protein intake from milk or meat increased s-insulin and insulin resistance in healthy, prepubertal children. A high animal protein intake results in higher serum branched chain amino acids (BCAA; leucine, isoleucine and valine) concentrations, which are suggested to stimulate insulin secretion. Furthermore, milk possesses some postprandial insulinotrophic effect that is not related to its carbohydrate content.
A total of 24 8-y-old boys were asked to take 53 g protein as milk or meat daily. At baseline and after 7 days, diet was registered, and insulin, glucose, and amino acids were determined. Insulin resistance and beta cell function were calculated with the homeostasis model assessment.
Protein intake increased by 61 and 54% in the milk- and meat-group, respectively. In the milk-group, fasting s-insulin concentrations doubled, which caused the insulin resistance to increase similarly. In the meat-group, there was no increase in insulin and insulin resistance. As the BCAAs increased similarly in both groups, stimulation of insulin secretion through BCAAs is not supported.
Our results indicate that a short-term high milk, but not meat, intake increased insulin secretion and resistance. The long-term consequences of this are unknown. The effect of high protein intakes from different sources on glucose–insulin metabolism needs further studying.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 12 print issues and online access
$259.00 per year
only $21.58 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Prices vary by article type
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
Similar content being viewed by others
Amiel SA, Sherwin RS, Hintz RL, Gertner JM, Press CM & Tamborlane WV (1984): Effect of diabetes and its control on insulin-like growth factors in the young subject with type I diabetes. Diabetes 33, 1175–1179.
Axelsson IE, Ivarsson SA & Raiha NC (1989): Protein intake in early infancy: effects on plasma amino acid concentrations, insulin metabolism, and growth. Pediatr. Res. 26, 614–617.
Barkholt V & Jensen AL (1989): Amino acid analysis: determination of cysteine plus half-cystine in proteins after hydrochloric acid hydrolysis with a disulfide compound as additive. Anal. Biochem. 177, 318–322.
Bleicher M, Hogel J, Wudy S, Wabitsch M, Homoki J, Sorgo W & Heinze E (2002): Insulin resistance (HOMA) in relation to plasma cortisol, IGF-I and IGFBP-3. A study in normal short-statured and GH-deficient children. Horm. Res. 58, 229–232.
Chaussain JL, Georges P, Gendrel D, Donnadieu M & Job JC (1980): Serum branched-chain amino acids in the diagnosis of hyperinsulinism in infancy. J. Pediatr. 97, 923–926.
DeFronzo RA (1988): Lilly lecture 1987. The triumvirate: beta-cell, muscle, liver. A collusion responsible for NIDDM. Diabetes 37, 667–687.
DeFronzo RA (1992): Pathogenesis of type 2 (non-insulin dependent) diabetes mellitus: a balanced overview. Diabetologia 35, 389–397.
DeFronzo RA, Bonadonna RC & Ferrannini E (1992): Pathogenesis of NIDDM: a balanced overview. Diabetes Care 15, 318–368.
Del Prato S, Leonetti F, Simonson DC, Sheehan P, Matsuda M & DeFronzo RA (1994): Effect of sustained physiologic hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycaemia on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity in man. Diabetologia 37, 1025–1035.
Dewey KG (2003): Is breastfeeding protective against child obesity? J. Hum. Lact. 19, 9–18.
DiMeglio DP & Mattes RD (2000): Liquid versus solid carbohydrate: effects on food intake and body weight. Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 24, 794–800.
Fomon SJ (1993): Protein. In Nutrition of Normal Infants, ed. Fomon SJ, pp 121–146. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
Hoppe C, Mølgaard C, Juul A & Michaelsen KF (2004): High intakes of skimmed milk, but not meat, increase serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 in eight-year-old boys. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 58, 1211–1216.
Johnson TR, Blossey BK, Denko CW & Ilan J (1989): Expression of insulin-like growth factor I in cultured rat hepatocytes: effects of insulin and growth hormone. Mol. Endocrinol. 3, 580–587.
Le Stunff C & Bougneres P (1994): Early changes in postprandial insulin secretion, not in insulin sensitivity, characterize juvenile obesity. Diabetes 43, 696–702.
Liljeberg EH & Bjorck I (2001): Milk as a supplement to mixed meals may elevate postprandial insulinaemia. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. 55, 994–999.
Lucas A, Sarson DL, Blackburn AM, Adrian TE, Aynsley-Green A & Bloom SR (1980): Breast vs bottle: endocrine responses are different with formula feeding. Lancet 1, 1267–1269.
Matthews DR, Hosker JP, Rudenski AS, Naylor BA, Treacher DF & Turner RC (1985): Homeostasis model assessment: insulin resistance and beta-cell function from fasting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations in man. Diabetologia 28, 412–419.
Nyomba BL, Berard L & Murphy LJ (1997): Free insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in healthy subjects: relationship with IGF-binding proteins and insulin sensitivity. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 82, 2177–2181.
Olchovsky D, Bruno JF, Wood TL, Gelato MC, Leidy Jr JW, Gilbert Jr JM & Berelowitz M (1990): Altered pituitary growth hormone (GH) regulation in streptozotocin-diabetic rats: a combined defect of hypothalamic somatostatin and GH-releasing factor. Endocrinology 126, 53–61.
Ostman EM, Liljeberg Elmstahl HG & Bjorck IM (2001): Inconsistency between glycemic and insulinemic responses to regular and fermented milk products. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 74, 96–100.
Rizza RA, Mandarino LJ, Genest J, Baker BA & Gerich JE (1985): Production of insulin resistance by hyperinsulinaemia in man. Diabetologia 28, 70–75.
Rolland-Cachera MF, Deheeger M & Bellisle F (1999): Increasing prevalence of obesity among 18-year-old males in Sweden: evidence for early determinants. Acta Paediatr. 88, 365–367.
Schrezenmeir J & Jagla A (2000): Milk and diabetes. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 19, 176S–190S.
Swinburn BA, Gianchandani R, Saad MF & Lillioja S (1995): In vivo beta-cell function at the transition to early non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Metabolism 44, 757–764.
We are grateful to SA Munksgaard for valuable assistance with the blood samples, to B Hermansen for valuable assistance with the meat supplements, and to A Blicher for performing the amino acid analysis. The idea for this study came from a discussion between the authors.
Guarantor: C Hoppe.
Contributors: CH conducted the statistical analyses and prepared the first draft of the manuscript in collaboration with CM, AV and KFM. VB was responsible for all measurements of amino acids. All contributors participated in interpreting the results and were involved in preparing the final draft of the manuscript. No author had a financial or personal conflict of interest related to this research or its source of funding.
About this article
Cite this article
Hoppe, C., Mølgaard, C., Vaag, A. et al. High intakes of milk, but not meat, increase s-insulin and insulin resistance in 8-year-old boys. Eur J Clin Nutr 59, 393–398 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602086
This article is cited by
A nutrient pattern characterized by vitamin A, C, B6, potassium, and fructose is associated with reduced risk of insulin‐related disorders: A prospective study among participants of Tehran lipid and glucose study
Diabetology & Metabolic Syndrome (2021)
MMW - Fortschritte der Medizin (2021)
Impact of whole dairy matrix on musculoskeletal health and aging–current knowledge and research gaps
Osteoporosis International (2020)
Milk exosomal miRNAs: potential drivers of AMPK-to-mTORC1 switching in β-cell de-differentiation of type 2 diabetes mellitus
Nutrition & Metabolism (2019)
Plasma amino acids, adiposity, and weight change after gastric bypass surgery: are amino acids associated with weight regain?
European Journal of Nutrition (2018)