Adding more legumes in diet gives type 2 diabetics improved glycemic control
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Adding more legumes in diet gives type 2 diabetics improved glycemic control

Toronto : Canada | Oct 23, 2012 at 8:18 AM PDT
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Consuming more legumes such as lentils also reduces CHD for those with type 2 diabetes

The glycemic index (GI) defines the rate of glucose disposal in the blood. Low GI foods are digested and absorbed slowly allowing only small changes in blood glucose and insulin levels. People with type 1 and 2 diabetes who follow a low glycemic diet have been shown to reduce insulin levels and resistance and improve glucose and lipid levels.

View slideshow: Foods with low glycemic index

In this new study researchers tested the effects of consuming more legumes on glycemic control, serum blood lipid levels and blood pressure. According to the abstract researchers note to the best of their knowledge legumes have never been used specifically to lower the GI of the diet.

Dr. David A Jenkins, MD, PhD, ScD of St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto, clinical researcher at the University of Toronto and one of the world’s leaders in nutrition research and colleagues conducted a randomized control trial that included 121 participants type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) were at random assigned to either increase legume intake by one cup a day or to increase insoluble fiber (found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains) intake for a period of three months.

The researchers in conclusion the researchers note “legumes as part of a low-GI diet improved both glycemic control and reduced calculated CHD risk score in type 2 DM.”

The low GI legume diet reduced HBA1c values by by -0.5 percent and the high wheat fiber diet reduced HbA1c values by -0.3 percent. HbA1c is a compound created in your body when excess blood sugar sticks to a protein in your red blood cells called hemoglobin (Hb). The higher your blood sugar levels are the higher the HBA1c levels.

The respective CHD risk reduction on the low-GI legume diet was -0.8 percent, largely because of a greater relative reduction in systolic blood pressure on the low-GI legume diet compared with the high wheat fiber diet (-4.5 mm Hg), the study results indicate.

The authors concluded "These findings linking legume consumption to both improved glycemic control and reduced CHD risk are particularly important because type 2 DM is increasing most rapidly in the urban environments of populations in which bean intake has traditionally been high (e.g. India, Latin America, the Pima Indians of Arizona),"

?Support for the continued use of such foods in traditional bean-eating communities, together with their reintroduction into the Western diet, could therefore be justified even if the effect on glycaemia is relatively small, given the magnitude of the problem and the need for acceptable dietary options, especially those options that may also have a BP and cardiovascular advantage."

In a commentary from Marion J. Franz, MS, RD, LD, CDE, nutrition/health consultant with Nutrition Concepts by Franz, Inc., noted that the legumes in this study are components of a healthy eating pattern people with DM and the general public.

Franz comments "Nutrition therapy for DM is effective. However, just as there is no one medication or insulin regimen appropriate for all persons with DM, there is no one nutrition therapy intervention. A variety of nutrition therapy interventions have been shown to be effective.”

In closing Franz remarks Nutrition education and counseling must be sensitive to the personal needs and cultural preferences of individuals and their ability to make and sustain lifestyle changes.”

This study is published online first by the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A 2009, Cochrane Review had found following a low-glycemic diet helps people with type 1 and 2 diabetes to significantly improve their blood glucose control.

More information on the glycemic index and diet can be found online at Everyday Health.

Debbie Nicholson is based in Detroit, Michigan, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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