A new study suggests that type 2 diabetes patients may benefit from eating their carbohydrates after vegetables and proteins. Weill Cornell Medical College nutritionists found that the order of the food significantly influences insulin and glucose levels at the end of one meal.
The study was published Tuesday in the journal Diabetes Care.
Dr. Louis Aronne, lead author of the research and clinical medicine expert, said that doctors shouldn’t solely rely on medication when treating diabetes patients. Instead they should also recommend that their patients make some changes in their diet including food order.
Dr. Aronne acknowledged that people find it very hard to change their eating habits. So, bluntly asking a diabetes patient to cut down on their carbohydrate intake or merely reduce it is often a challenging task and few manage to comply.
“This study points to an easier way that patients might lower their blood sugar and insulin levels,”added Dr. Aronne.
Blood sugar levels play a crucial role in a diabetes patient’s life. If the patient fails to maintain blood sugar on normal levels, the disease may lead to further complications including stroke and heart conditions.
Weill Cornell researchers said that they learned about the link between food order and lower blood sugar levels from previous studies. But those studies weren’t focused on the rich Western meals.
During the study, participants were asked to consume the same meal consisting in proteins (chicken breast), vegetables (steamed broccoli, lettuce and tomato salad), fats (low-fat dressing and butter), and carbohydrates (ciabatta bread).
The study involved 11 type 2 diabetes patients who were on medication and also diagnosed with obesity. Participants were asked to eat as they normally would and they had their glucose levels checked. The next day they were requested to eat carbohydrates first and wait 15 minutes before resuming meal.
Over the course of one week, researchers made different experiments with food order and constantly monitored blood sugar levels every 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the meal.
The study showed that blood sugar levels were lower by 29 percent after 30 minutes, 37 percent after an hour and 17 percent after two hours whenever study participants ate their carbohydrates last. Insulin levels were also influenced by the food order.
Researchers hope that the new findings may help diabetics make minor adjustments to their diet with long-lasting positive benefits on their health. But the team admitted that the results are only preliminary and more studies needed to be conducted.