A study shows the benefits of a low glycemic index diet

A low-glycemic index diet provides small but valuable benefits to people with diabetes, reports a study published in The BMJ, the weekly journal of the British Medical Association.

What is a low glycemic index diet? To quote the authors of the article, “The glycemic index (GI) ranks a carbohydrate-containing food by the amount by which it increases blood glucose levels after consumption compared to the reference food (pure glucose or bread). white), for which a GI of ≤55 is low, 56-69 is medium, and ≥70 is high, based on a glucose scale.” In other words, the GI classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to how quickly they raise blood sugar, and foods with a GI of 55 or less are considered low GI. Some low GI foods include non-starchy vegetables, such as bell peppers, broccoli, lettuce, and eggplant; fruits in limited quantities (pears, apples, blueberries, peaches, strawberries and blueberries, etc.); Beans; milk and yogurt; certain nuts such as almonds, peanuts, and walnuts; and lean meats, fish, turkey, and chicken.

A low glycemic index diet, then, is rich in these foods. A low calorie diet is not necessarily a low GI diet. Watermelon, for example, has a high GI, as do some breakfast cereals. Although the benefits of a low GI diet have been recognized in the past, the researchers noted that the last time the European Association for the Study of Diabetes updated its recommendation on dietary GI patterns for people with diabetes was in 2004.

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The researchers collected 27 randomized controlled trials published through May 2021 that studied the effects of low-GI diets. These trials contained data on 1617 subjects who had type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Most were overweight, middle-aged (although some children as young as 11 years were included), and using medications or insulin to control their diabetes. In most studies, the ratio of men to women was approximately 50-50. The researchers used a rating system to classify the evidence as high, moderate, low, or very low certainty. The reviewed studies were conducted in several countries; most were in Canada (21%) and Australia (17%), but others were in France (10%), the United States (7%), Israel (7%), Mexico (7%), and other European and Asian countries.

Benefits related to low GI diets

Data collected from all trials showed that low GI dietary patterns lowered HbA1c (A1C, the measure of a person’s blood glucose over the previous two to three months) compared with higher GI diets . The results also showed reductions in other risk factors: body weight, fasting glucose, LDL cholesterol (often called “bad cholesterol”), and C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation). Although these reductions were not dramatic, the researchers described them as small but significant. The review reported no improvements in insulin levels, waist circumference, HDL cholesterol and blood pressure, although the authors acknowledged the relative paucity of information on blood pressure.

The authors concluded that “diet and lifestyle remain the cornerstone of diabetes management,” adding that a low-GI diet “might be an especially useful lifestyle strategy for people with type 2 diabetes.” 2, since it could help in the control of glycemia”. as an add-on treatment to medications for hyperglycemia while reducing the need for these medications.” Overall, the researchers stated that the study results demonstrate that a low GI diet is “considered an acceptable and safe dietary strategy that can produce small significant reductions in the primary target for glycemic control in diabetes, fasting glucose. HbA1c and other established cardiometabolic risk factors.”

Want to learn more about eating right with diabetes? Read “Healthy Eating Strategies” and “Easy Ways to Eat Better.”

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