Nearly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes, putting them at a greater risk of heart disease, kidney disease, blindness, and even premature death. From previous studies we know that a healthy diet is critical to diabetes control and prevention, and now a new report published in the journal Diabetes Care takes that advice one step further.
In addition to eating the right foods, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College have determined that the order in which we eat certain foods may impact blood sugar levels after eating—and that eating protein and veggies first (before carbohydrates) may help regulate insulin levels and in turn help keep blood sugar in check.
The small study looked at nearly a dozen morbidly obese adults with type 2 diabetes. After monitoring their food intake, it was discovered that post-meal blood glucose levels were significantly lower (by as much as 29%) up to two hours after eating when protein and vegetables were consumed before carbs.
Because starchy carbohydrates break down into sugar in the body and can cause sharp spikes in blood sugar, study author Louis Aronne believes this simple step may be a helpful way for diabetics to manage their blood sugar levels throughout the day. Ideally, health experts agree that a diet low in carbs, sugar, and grains and high in non-starchy vegetables, low-sugar fruits, protein, fermented foods, and healthy fats is the most beneficial.