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Diabetes Forecast

The Healthy Living Magazine

A Tale of Two Diets and Diabetes

By Erika Gebel

Both a low-glycemic-index diet-one rich in foods that release glucose in the blood slowly-and a high-cereal-fiber diet have shown benefits for people with diabetes. But the low-glycemic-index was more effective in a recent study at helping people control their blood glucose. Here's a look at how the study worked and how the diets differed.

In the study, 210 people with type 2 diabetes were put into either a high-cereal-fiber group or a group whose diet had the same amount of fiber but a 10 to 20 percent lower glycemic index.

Foods with a low glycemic index contain carbohydrates that break down gradually, thereby releasing glucose into the blood slowly. Foods with a high glycemic index are quickly metabolized and can cause a steep rise in blood glucose after eating. Based on studies that test how different foods affect blood glucose, foods are assigned glycemic- index values from 0 to 100.

Both groups in this study were advised to avoid foods like pancakes, muffins, donuts, white buns, bagels, rolls, cookies, cakes, popcorn, french fries, and chips. Much of what the dieters could eat was the same for both groups: low-fat cheeses, lean meats, and vegetables.

However, the diets emphasized different types of grains and fruits. The low-glycemic- index dieters were encouraged to eat fruits whose carbohydrates tend to break down slowly, such as apples, pears, peaches, oranges, cherries, and berries. The high-cereal-fiber group was told to munch on fruits that tend to have a higher glycemic index, like bananas, mangos, guavas, grapes, raisins, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

Here is an example of one day's menus from the study. Both menus are based on a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet. The foods in red type are the ones that differ from one group to the other.

  High-Cereal-Fiber Diet Low-Glycemic-Index Diet
Breakfast

1 Weetabix biscuit

1 cup skim milk

2 slices whole wheat toast with 1 Tbsp. margarine and 1 Tbsp. double fruit jam

1 cup cantaloupe

2 Tbsp. Red River Cereal (dry)

1 cup skim milk

2 slices quinoa bread with 1 Tbsp. peanut butter and 1 Tbsp. double fruit jam

1 orange

Lunch

3 oz. lean meat or meat substitute

1/2 cup vegetables

1 cup brown rice

1 cup salad with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette

15 grapes

3 oz. lean meat or meat substitute

1/2 cup vegetables

1 cup spaghetti, al dente

1 cup salad with 2 Tbsp. vinaigrette

1 apple

Dinner

3 oz. lean meat or meat substitute

1/2 baked potato with 2 t. margarine

1/2 cup spinach with balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup carrot coins

1 mango with 1 cup low-fat yogart

3 oz. lean meat or meat substitute

1/2 cup lentils with 2 Tbsp. tomato sauce

1/2 cup spinach with balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup carrot coins

1 pear with 1 cup low-fat yogart
Snacks

1 slice whole wheat toast

1.5 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese

1 Finland rye pita

1.5 oz. part skim mozzarella cheese

Source: Journal of the American Medical Association, December 17, 2008

To learn more about the study, click here.

 
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