Study suggests a low-glycemic diet may help diabetes patients improve blood-sugar control

Canada’s Globe and Mail (12/17, Beck) reported, “Eating a low-glycemic diet can help people with diabetes improve blood-sugar control – and increase their level of HDL (‘good’) cholesterol,” according to a study published in the Dec. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Lead author Dr. David Jenkins, of St. Michael’s Hospital and the University of Toronto, and colleagues, recruited “210 participants with type 2 diabetes” who were “being treated with oral medications.” Participants “were assigned to one of two diets for six months: a low-glycemic-index (GI) diet, or a high-cereal-fiber diet.” Notably, “the low-GI diet emphasized carbohydrates that are slowly digested and don’t cause quick, sizable spikes in blood glucose, such as beans, peas, lentils, nuts, pasta, large-flake oatmeal, and grainy breads.” The high-fiber subjects “were told to take the ‘brown’ option, such as whole-wheat bread, crackers and cereals, brown rice, and unpeeled potatoes.”

Six months after the study began, the researchers found that “HbA1c levels were significantly better in individuals assigned to the low-glycemic-index diet, compared with those who consumed the high-cereal-fiber diet,” Medscape (12/17, O’Riordan) added. “HDL-cholesterol levels were also significantly improved,” although “low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and triglyceride levels were not significantly altered with the dietary strategy.”


Please read my analysis of this study at the Diabetes Update Blog

The diet used was not a truly low glycemic diet. It was a high carb/low fat/high fructose diet. And it looked good only because it was being compared to an even higher carb diet.

The foods on this diet were ones most of us find do terrible things to our blood sugar. This low fat diet for diabetes has been discredited in many other studies. Only by comparing it to a diet even higher in carbs does it look goog.

I’m with Jenny. That study was really flawed. It kills me that some people are able to get research dollars that could be far better allocated.

Here’s the study that needs to be taken into consideration.

In poor countries and when certain food is available for children & affordable, mothers experiment with this food: amount served per meal and the effect on postprandial BG.We need to explore, experiment with what is available in every house hold to help to achieve better control.
In Egypt people get their protein from beans, lentils & vegetables are plenty. In Saudi Arabia, it is kabsa, rice with lamb on daily basis in some areas. So our dietician take diary of what food is served, how it is cooked, life style of the child and his preference, and from there we manipulate serving, total calories to get the required control
You know it is not easy, but we do try.
I read every thing you write jenny,and I beleive in your views and apply them to my adult friends who are diabetic.It is difficult though to convince…

Dear Sohair.

Too bad that the glyceamic index was invented in Canada if Joslin had invented it the concept would be universal. You wonder if going all the way like Atkins or R. Bernstein and restricting the carbs even more is best. Fibre is key for other reasons than BG control. I use a lot of psyllium fibre in a product called Metamucil.

Althought when I first developped full diabetes I ate a diet of a total of about 150 grams of boiled rye and 150 grams of lean ham per day split into 4 meals. This was certainly not Atkinsian, the boiled whole rye was better tasting than rice but still probably quite high in glyceamic load. This is a matter of cultural preference as rice does not grow in northern Europe but rye does. I brought my HA1c down in the 5 range and lost 35 Kg. Also on this diet the cholesterol and tri-glycerides were fantastic. This was because of a large amount of exercise and the above diet would be only 1200 calories much less than the daily requirement.

I wonder if it really does not matter (whithin reason and low glyceamic load being best) what you eat as long as you get a lot of exercise and the amount you eat is less than that you expend.