A small study conducted recently suggests that you can reduce the after-meal spike in your blood glucose and insulin levels by changing the order in which you eat different types of foods … proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
For people with type 2 diabetes, keeping blood glucose levels under control is vital.
Failure to do so will, over time, lead to serious medical conditions such as … heart disease … stroke … kidney disease … nerve damage … neuropathy of the feet and hands … digestive problems … and damaged eyes due to glaucoma, cataracts and retinopathy.
The best way to keep your blood glucose from spiking too much after a meal is to follow a diet consisting mainly of unprocessed foods that are mostly plants and that are … low in sugar … low in fat … low in salt … high in fibre … with a low GI (glycemic index) value … all washed down with lots of water.
All foods contain one or more of the three macro-nutrients: proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Any meal is likely to contain all three of these food types.
According to a new study, it now seems that the order in which you eat these three macro-nutrients can help significantly in reducing your blood glucose and insulin levels.
The new study, which was undertaken at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, was published on the 23rd June 2015 in the journal Diabetes Care.
The food-order study
The study involved only eleven people.
However, all eleven participants had type 2 diabetes and were, in addition, clinically obese. All of them were on metformin, the standard diabetes drug which is taken orally.
The subjects were given two meals, one week apart, consisting of a typical Western diet that included breast of chicken, steamed broccoli with butter, lettuce and tomato salad with low-fat dressing and ciabatta bread. They also drank orange juice.
Blood sugar levels were recorded before eating and at 30, 60 and 120 minute intervals after their meals.
For the first meal, the participants were told to eat the carbohydrates first, then to wait 15 minutes before eating the proteins, fats and vegetables.
For the second meal, a week later, the order in which the foods were eaten was reversed. The proteins, fats and vegetables were eaten first, followed by the carbs 15 minutes later.
The results were impressively intriguing.
When the participants ate the carbohydrates last, their blood glucose levels were on average 29% lower 30 minutes after the meal, 37% lower at 60 minutes and 17% lower two hours after the meal, compared to their readings when they ate the carbs first.
The participants insulin levels were also much lower when they ate the proteins and vegetables first.
These blood glucose figures are certainly significant and suggest that you can reduce the usual after-meal spikes in your blood glucose by not eating your carbs until last.
The reason why this may be so is unknown, though it has been the subject of much speculation.
The finding … that the order in which type 2 diabetics eat their food can affect their blood sugar levels … is certainly intriguing. And the differences were highly significant.
However the study involved a mere eleven participants, statistically a very small sample, and was only a once-off test. The experiment needs to be repeated by other researchers before its conclusion can be considered an established scientific fact.
Nevertheless, there is no harm in trying it out … take your typical meal and eat everything except the carbs first, then wait 15 minutes before eating the carbohydrates on your plate.
Let me know whether, two hours after your meal, this trick seems to have any noticeable effect on your blood glucose levels.