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Friday, May 30, 2008

Diabetes, Carbohydrates, Protein, and Fat

If you wanted to lower your blood sugar and insulin, what would you do? Eat less sugar and starch? Sounds logical. That would mean you'd be getting more of your calories from protein and fat, since you wouldn't be getting as many of them from carbohydrates.

The interesting thing is that "Fish, beef, chicken, and eggs had larger insulin responses per gram than did many of the foods consisting predominantly of carbohydrate."1. I was surprised when I read about this in the FanaticCook blog, written by an actual nutritionist. In later posts, she dug up more references to studies done on how eating fat affects insulin levels. Turns out, a high-carbohydrate diet was better for insulin levels than a high-fat diet.2 And, as the FanaticCook pointed out, a low-fat vegan diet was better than the AHA-recommended diet for the blood glucose and blood lipids in a 100-patient study.3

The Atkins diet has also been shown to improve blood glucose compared to the average American diet. But studies indicate that the "good carb" diet might do an even better job.2 It would be interesting to see the comparison in a long-term study.

10 comments:

Bix said...

I like that phrase in your last paragraph ... the "good carb" diet.

Family Nutritionist said...

When you are famous, make sure to credit me!

Albert said...

From many studies have been concluded that some starches such as baked potatoes can raise rapidly your sugar blood level until a very high peak. That means what count in a diabetic meal plan, is the amount of carbohydrates you eat and what glycemic index they have, so how fast they raise your sugar blood level and what peak they make it reach.

Beans, barley, pasta, oats, brown rice, acidic fruits, beans, oats, barley, have low glycemic index, and are encouraged to be part of your daily meal.

http://www.all-about-beating-diabetes.com/carbohydrates-and-diabetes.html

Family Nutritionist said...

high-GI foods are bad on blood sugar and insulin resistance. I was surprised to learn how high-fat foods affect blood sugar.

Monica Reinagel said...

For me the take home message is that blood sugar and insulin respond not only to quality (i.e. good carb, bad carb, fat, protein) but also to quantity. Excessive amounts of "low glycemic" foods can raise your blood sugar more than small quantities of "high glycemic" foods.

By the way, I just posted an answer to your questions about the baked potatoes and the eGL/GI on Nutritiondata.com. It's in the comment section of the Ask Monica post. Just use your ctrl F to search for "eGL of baked potatos"

Family Nutritionist said...

The interesting thing about the study is the rise in glycerin and insulin with a high-protein meal, even when the meal is very low-carb (egg, cheese) or zero-carb (fish and beef meals).

And thanks for answering my potato question -- twice. I'm still curious why the eGL on the page for baked potato implies GI of 52, which is lower than any of the published values for baked potato at glycemicindex.com, and much lower than the averaged GI of 85 used in the nutritiondata.com GI/GL example

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Mike Hussey said...

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Wayne said...

I'm a little shocked by this "good carb" diet results. It kind of goes against conventional wisdom.

Family Nutritionist said...

I found this surprising, also. What does the insulin rise really mean? Is it caused by a release of glycogen? Is it accompanied by the postprandial oxidative stress and small-particle lipoproteins implicated in heart disease?

More studies would be needed to find this out.