Eat proteins before carbohydrates to avoid blood sugar (glucose) level spikes in type 2 diabetes

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Diabetes | Saturday, November 28, 2015 - 11:00 AM

eat proteins to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels

Protein and carbohydrates play an important role in influencing blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes. Having control over diabetes is an important part of maintaining your health. Roughly 29-million Americans have diabetes. Specifically, the prevalence of diabetes in seniors remains high, with those over 65 years of age representing 25.9% of that statistic.

We are aware of ways to prevent diabetes and even manage it with exercise, diet and other healthy living practices. Yet, the numbers remain high. As the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., further steps need to be taken to better prevent diabetes.

One tip focuses on sugar intake. Sugar intake should be kept to a minimum and diabetics should make healthy foods choices while avoiding processed food. But there are new findings that suggest eating in a certain order can help stop blood-sugar spikes after a meal. These spike are a common problem for diabetics.

Protein before carbohydrates for better blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics

eat protein to lower blood sugar spikesThe new method of eating was published in Diabetic Care. Eleven obese patients with type 2 diabetes, who also took medication to control their glucose levels, were told to eat a set meal in different orders.

The meal consisted of ciabatta bread, orange juice, chicken breast, lettuce and tomato salad with a low-fat dressing, and steamed broccoli with butter.

Glucose levels were measured in the early morning, with 12 hours after their last meal as a control. Following that they were measured 30, 60 and 120 minutes after eating to see how the order of food affected their glucose levels.

The participants were told to consume the carbohydrates first (ciabatta bread and orange juice) and follow it up with the protein, fat and vegetables 15 minutes later. They were then instructed to switch the order.

Glucose levels revealed that by consuming the protein and the vegetables before the carbohydrates glucose levels were 29, 37 and 17 percent lower during the 30-, 60- and 120-minute glucose checkpoints.

The research suggests that sugar spikes might not have so much to do with what you eat but rather when you eat it. So a good rule of thumb for diabetics, and those managing their glucose, is to consume protein first and finish with carbohydrates. In this way it still allows people to enjoy carbohydrates without the side-effect of spikes in glucose. Additionally, they may consume fewer carbohydrates because they may already be full from having protein and vegetables first.

Other useful tips to manage blood sugar in type 2 diabetes

manage blood sugar levelsAlong with this new research there are other ways you can help regulate your blood sugar. Some other useful tips include:

  • Eat consistently – don’t skip meals.
  • Enjoy healthy carbohydrates, not processed or refined ones.
  • If you want to eat pasta, keep it al dente (or slightly undercooked).
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Be mindful of alcohol – alcohol can raise blood sugar levels.
  • Sleep well.
  • Lose weight – being overweight is linked to insulin resistance, where the body does not use insulin properly.
  • Exercise regularly – exercise has been shown to improve glucose levels. Aerobic and resistance training are recommended.

These tips can also work wonders on helping you get your diabetes under control. If you have additional concerns about diabetes or medications always speak with your doctor.

Although the number of diabetes cases continues to grow, the more aware we become about the illness, the more we can educate future generations and help prevent the illness.

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