Obese individuals with type 2 diabetes show lower post-meal glucose and insulin levels when they eat protein and vegetables before carbohydrates, findings of a new study have revealed.
The results of the study, which were published in the journal Diabetes Care on June 23, could have implications in the way health care providers advise diabetes patients how to eat, focusing not only on the amount of food to be eaten but also on when carbohydrates should be consumed, an approach that could help diabetics and obese individuals keep their disorders in check.
The researchers involved 11 individuals in their study and found that the glucose levels were much lower 30, 60 and 120 minutes after each meal when protein and vegetables were consumed before the carbohydrates.
"In this pilot study, we demonstrated that the temporal sequence of carbohydrate ingestion during a meal has a significant impact on postprandial glucose and insulin excursions," the researchers wrote.
Based on the results, study researcher Louis Aronne from Weill Cornell Medical College, said that clinicians should advise their patients on the order of the food they eat rather than what they eat.
"While we need to do some follow-up work, based on this finding, patients with type 2 might be able to make a simple change to lower their blood sugar throughout the day, decrease how much insulin they need to take, and potentially have a long-lasting, positive impact on their health," Aronne said.
Still, there are also a number of other ways diabetics can lower their blood sugar levels naturally. One is by choosing to eat foods that do not raise blood sugar, such as those that contain fewer carbohydrates and have the right kind of fats. Oatmeal, strawberries, salmon and lean meats are among the foods that are good for diabetics.
Getting sufficient sleep is also recommended as limited amounts of sleep affect body chemistry. Getting enough shut-eye is beneficial for those who need to control their blood sugar levels. Experts recommend getting at least seven hours of uninterrupted sleep at night.
"In laboratory studies, short-term sleep deprivation caused measurable changes in glucose metabolism, hormone levels, [and] autonomic nervous system activity," a 2011 research study reported. The study was published in the Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine.
Lose weight. Those extra pounds in the body can cause insulin resistance and keep the hormone from working. Experts say losing a few pounds can be beneficial as patients reported improvements in their blood sugar reading after losing just five pounds.
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