Type 2 diabetes: Include more of this grain in your diet to lower blood sugar TYPE 2 diabetes must be controlled
TYPE 2 diabetes must be controlled by making certain dietary changes in order to lower blood sugar and prevent complications from occurring. Adding one particular grain to your diet has been shown in some studies to reduce diabetes risk.
Diabetes happens when the level of sugar in a person’s blood is too high. In type 2 diabetes, this is because a person’s body is unable to produce enough insulin, or the body’s cells don’t react to the insulin produced. Insulin is necessary to control the level of sugar in the blood and transfer it to the cells to be turned into energy. So if insulin can’t do its job properly, too much sugar will remain in the blood. This can be dangerous because it can lead to serious health problems with the eyes, heart, nerves, kidneys and feet.
In order to control diabetes and prevent complications from occurring, people with the condition are advised to make certain dietary changes.
As well as cutting down on sugar and other unhealthy foods, adding some other foods into your diet have also been shown to improve blood sugar levels and reduce diabetes risk.
One particular food which is recommended by health experts is wholegrains.
According to dietitian Juliette Kellow, one review of 16 studies found eating three daily servings of wholegrains reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes by 32 per cent.
While a small number of studies have confirmed brown rice is protective against diabetes, high intakes of white rice have been shown to increase the risk of developing the disease.
The glycaemic index measures the ability of carbohydrates to increase the level of sugar in the blood. The higher the GI, the quicker a food will raise blood sugar levels.
“If you do have diabetes, wholegrain foods are usually better for managing blood glucose levels because they tend to have a lower glycaemic index. This means they do not affect blood glucose levels as quickly as refined carbohydrate foods,”
It is Important, however, to be mindful of portion sizes as all carbohydrate foods will still affect blood glucose levels in some way.
According to Kellow, wholegrains can contain up to 75 per cent more nutrients than refined grains.
This is because wholegrain foods – as the name suggests – contain all parts of the grain, but when grains are refined, the outer bran layer and germ are stripped away, losing many nutrients and much of their fibre.
The dietitian also notes that studies have shown people who eat more wholegrain foods have a lower body max index, less body fat and are less likely to gain weight over time.
This is due to its high fibre content, which promotes digestion and helps us to feel fuller for longer reducing calorie intake.
This is especially important for people with diabetes, as being overweight increases the risk of health complications.
One slice of wholegrain bread provides the same fibre content as two-and-a-half slices of white bread, notes Kellow.
“Switching from refined grains to wholegrains is a simple but powerful step to better health and a longer life,” said the dietitian.