Health Team

Diet can lower blood sugar, cardiovascular risk

Posted December 16, 2008

A new study shows a diet of low-glycemic foods can help lower blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at the University of Toronto studied the effect two different diets had on glucose levels in 210 participants over a six-month period.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Our study explores the effect of slowing the rate of digestion on blood glucose levels in diabetics and whether this can be used as part of their treatment,” the university's Dr. David Jenkins said.

Jenkins and his colleagues have been working with foods and their effects in diabetes for more than 25 years. Low-glycemic foods release glucose more slowly than high-glycemic food.

Each participant was given either a high-fiber diet, including whole wheat breads, cereals, brown rice and baked potatoes, or a diet of low-glycemic foods, like beans, oats, berries and pumpernickel bread.

“In our low-glycemic diet, we have foods that are digested more slowly or the sugar that is digested is released into the blood stream more slowly,” University of Toronto dietitian Sandy Mitchell said.

The low-glycemic diet did the best job of lowering blood glucose levels and the patient’s risk for cardiovascular disease.

“It raised the healthy cholesterol, the HDL cholesterol, which is often low in type 2 diabetes and may be one of the risk factors for heart disease,” Jenkins said.

All the participants in the study were already taking at least one medication for diabetes to lower their blood sugar levels, but they were not getting insulin injections.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • CestLaVie Dec 18, 2008

    readme: Are you kidding me?? Atkins get credit for this??

    Excuse me, but you are way off base here. Low glycemic means beans, oats, berries, and other non-meat/protein, and, does NOT include all the highly-saturated fat as the protein Atkins wanted Americans to eat.

    While many others are proving that meat, poultry & dairy are the CAUSE of high rates of heart disease, cancer & diabetes in this country, Atkins continued along his merry way, by himself, and in fact died due to what he espoused.

    You need to do a lot more reading - start with The RAVE Diet book & DVD, Ornish knows, John MacDougall knows, John Robbins knows, and try Pritikin or The China Study by Campbell.

  • readme Dec 18, 2008

    This is just a study that indirectly affirms the Atkins diet approach. He should really get a lot of credit for this stuff. He obviously pushed a low carb approach, but there were several chapters in his book on low-glycemic foods as well and why they help, and that the carbs you eat should fit into this category.

  • Dec 17, 2008

    I would like to see WRAL (TV OR .com) follow up this story and expand the advice. Is it all veggies or just certain ones that are wise to eat? ALl fruits? Any kind of bread other than pumpernickel? Diabetes is now so rampant in the adult population that there can never be too many articles or too much information. Everryone can't read the books (eye problems with diabetes are common, too).

  • baconricky Dec 17, 2008


    Thanks! I just ordered that book from :)

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Dec 17, 2008

    Oops, truncated "Dean Ornish reverse heart disease" Dr. Ornish has the answers to reversing the harmful effects of food we know is bad for us. Eat your veggies.

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Dec 17, 2008

    A dirt diet would help these people, because they would not be eating all of the harmful junk food that they were before.

    Some people have known for decades that food meant to match our biology (herbivore) will reverse the many damaging effects of an omnivorous diet.