December 16, 2008
Low Glycemic Index Diet Cuts Heart Risk With Diabetics

A diet very much like the Mediterranean diet causes favorable blood chemistry changes in peope with type II insulin-resistant diabetes.

A new study found that a diet of "low-glycemic foods" -- such as beans, nuts, peas, lentils and pasta -- was superior to a high-cereal-fiber diet -- think pumpernickel, rye pita, quinoa, large flake oatmeal and oat bran -- when it comes to lowering blood sugar and other risk factors for heart disease in people with diabetes.

"These findings fit with the general tenor of what's gone before. The trouble is that those studies tended to be considerably smaller and for shorter periods of time, and they didn't always show the effects significantly," said study author Dr. David J.A. Jenkins, Canada research chair in nutrition and metabolism at the University of Toronto and St. Michael's Hospital in Canada. "I think this certainly supports a recommendation to people that this is an extra tool in the tool kit."

Nuts and beans are good. Cut back on refined grains.

Pasta is in the lower glycemic index diet in this study. Surprised? Pasta has a much lower glycemic index than bread. It is made from different kinds of wheat.

In the St. Michael's study, roughly half the 210 participants were fed such a diet, which included includes beans, peas, lentils and nuts, as well as pasta, rice boiled briefly, large-flake oatmeal, oat bran and pumpernickel, rye, pita, quinoa and flaxseed breads.

A second group was fed a high-cereal diet that included whole-grain breads and cereals, brown rice, potatoes with skins and whole-wheat bread and crackers. The high-cereal diet did not contain nuts, beans or lentils, which are among the foods with the lowest glycemic indexes.

My reaction to rice on the higher glycemic index diet: Types of rice vary substantially in their glycemic index. The sticky rice has a very high glycemic index. Search the database at that link for rice. The higher amylose rices have much lower glycemic index. I wish rices in stores came with percent amylose ratings on their labels.

The Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a measure of sugar exposure levels.

"Low glycemic index diets may be useful as part of the strategy to improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes taking antihyperglycemic medications," Dr. Jenkins and colleagues wrote.

"The reduction in HbA1c was modest, but we think it has clinical relevance," they said, noting that improvements only slightly larger had been found to reduce microvascular complications by 21% to 37% in other prospective studies.

David Jenkins also developed the "Ape Diet". He also found that pistachios reduce blood sugar rise after meals. So the presence of nuts in the low glycemic index diet has a purpose.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 December 16 11:29 PM  Aging Diet Heart Studies

Lou Pagnucco said at December 17, 2008 8:58 AM:

According to some web articles, there are several other ways to reduce food G-I.

Consuming some vinegar, acetic acid or several other acidic drinks before meals delays gastric emptying.

Flavanols like pynogenol, tannins and other polyphenols, as well as viscous fiber supplements may do the same.

Also, cold storage of high starch cooked foods, like potatoes, significantly reduces G-I.
Hopefully, the same is true for rices and other grains.

Bob Badour said at December 17, 2008 7:25 PM:
I wish rices in stores came with percent amylose ratings on their labels.

Buy basmati rice. I don't know whether it has the absolute lowest GI, but it has a much lower GI than most types of rice, and it is available in 10lb bags at any grocer.

Randall Parker said at December 17, 2008 7:49 PM:


I used to buy basmati. But its GI ranges from 52 to 69 in that food glycemic index database that I linked to. Whereas Uncle Ben's converted rice ranges from ranges from 38 to 50.

There are high amylose rices that range from 35 to 27. But they seem rare. My guess is Uncle Ben's Converted Rice is the best bet for low glycemic index rice and I buy 5 l0 lb bags at a time.

Ramamurthy said at March 18, 2009 10:11 AM:

Anyone heard that boiling the raw rice for 3 minutes in hot water and drain of the water and add more water and cooking it will reduce the soluble carbohydrate thus lowering Glycimic Index of the rice.

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