A recent study conducted by Thérése Hjorth et al. from Chalmers University of Technology and other institutions suggests that following a Mediterranean diet with a low glycemic index (GI) can provide health benefits that may help prevent type 2 diabetes.
The research was published in the journal Nutrients.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is increasing worldwide, and the disease is strongly associated with an elevated risk of developing heart disease.
In the study, the researchers investigated how meal-related insulin sensitivity, specifically postprandial glycemia (blood sugar levels after meals), was influenced by a diet with varying glycemic index (GI).
The study involved 160 participants who were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
These individuals completed a 12-week dietary intervention that examined the effects of a Mediterranean-style diet with a low GI (MED-HEP) compared to a diet with a high GI.
Participants consumed half of their daily carbohydrates from low GI foods such as pasta, brown rice, and flatbread, or high GI foods such as jasmine rice, potatoes, mashed potatoes, and couscous.
They also consumed fruits, vegetables, and other carbohydrate-rich foods.
The team discovered that blood sugar levels were lower after meals with a low GI diet compared to a high GI diet, and this difference between the groups increased over time.
However, the disparity between the groups was mainly due to participants on the high GI diet experiencing an increase in blood glucose levels after meals, while those on the low GI diet maintained levels similar to the baseline.
These findings suggest that consuming foods with a high GI can lead to an increase in blood glucose levels over a 12-week period, despite following a healthy Mediterranean diet (MED-HEP).
The study highlights that the glycemic index has an impact on blood glucose levels in non-diabetic individuals, underscoring the importance of considering the carbohydrate quality of foods and opting for those with a low GI.
The researchers note that since foods with a low GI, such as pasta, are a part of the traditional Mediterranean diet, the low GI component may play a significant role in the diet’s health benefits.
Lowering postprandial glucose levels could be a viable strategy for reducing the prevalence of type 2 diabetes, as an increase in blood sugar after meals is believed to contribute to the development of the disease.
Therefore, considering the glycemic index of foods may have implications for diabetes prevention.
In conclusion, incorporating a Mediterranean-style diet with a low GI may be beneficial in preventing type 2 diabetes and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels.
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