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What Type of Diet Can Control Diabetes and Prevent Heart Disease?

Posted Jan 28 2009 3:52pm
Being the most common form of diabetes, type-2 diabetes is closely linked with obesity. Because of a high blood sugar level, diabetics are at a high risk of developing heart disease, kidney damage, stroke, and blindness.

Therefore, when one is diagnosed with diabetes, he or she will have to adhere closely to the diet suggested by the doctors in order to control the blood sugar level.

The latest findings, which appeared on December 16, 2008 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, by Canadian researchers from St Michael's Hospital and the University of Toronto indicated that a diet that is rich in nuts, beans and lentils is better than a high cereal-fiber diet in controlling diabetes and hence preventing heart disease.

In the study, 210 people with Type-2 diabetes were randomly selected to try 1 of 2 diets for 6 months. All the participants were prescribed with medications for controlling their blood sugar and had monthly blood tests.

An abundance of beans, peas, lentils, nuts and pasta were given to people who were on the low-glycemic index diet. They were also asked to have low-glycemic index breads like pumpernickel, quinoa and flaxseed and breakfast cereals including large flake oatmeal and oat bran.

On the other hand, people in the high fiber group were given a largely 'brown' diet, which included whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, potatoes with skins and whole wheat bread, crackers and cereals.

People in both groups were also encouraged to eat 3 servings of fruit and 5 servings of vegetables daily.

The examination at the end of 6 months showed that those on the low-glycemic diet lost slightly more weight. They had not only significantly better control of their blood sugar but also higher levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), the so-called good cholesterol.

The results showed that the diet could be one of the many options available to people with diabetes, other medical conditions and even healthy people.

According to the researchers, many popular diets including the South Beach Diet and the Zone Diet already focus on low-glycemic index foods, which produce only small changes in blood glucose and insulin levels. In fact, many of the popular books on diets have already been ahead of the scientists in using it.

While food industry has an opportunity to produce modern foods with low-glycemic properties that can fit palatably into the diet, many of the traditional foods such as beans, pasta that were eaten by the older generations, can usefully be brought back into the diet.
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