Eight key diabetes foods and low glycemic load recipes

  • 1 Nov 2010
  • Reading time 23 mins
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Some simple changes to what you put in your supermarket trolley can have a profound effect on your ability to maintain blood sugar control, your appetite and your heart health as well as helping to prevent diabetes mellitus.

1. Oats Rule

As we have seen, oats are a superb food choice for blood sugar control. You can eat them as oat flakes (cold) or soak and cook them to make porridge. Oatcakes are the best ‘bread’ choice, for example, with your scrambled or boiled egg, or as a snack during the day with a high-protein spread such as hummus. Nowadays you can also find oat bakes (so much better than crisps) and oat biscuits, but do check that they say low-GI or GL load on the box.

The Nairn’s brand is particularly GL conscious. The best oat choices are those highest in the soluble fibre called beta-glucans. This is found in oat bran, the rougher outer layer of the grain. So, it’s best to choose ‘rough’ oatcakes rather than ‘fine’. You can lower the GL load of your breakfast further by adding a spoonful of oat bran. This simple act makes a big difference to the GL load of the meal. Since oat bran is highly absorbent, if you add it to cereal, it is best to leave the cereal to soak for a few minutes before eating, and put in more liquid than you normally would. You want to eat as much beta-glucans as you can to help balance your blood sugar.

Not only does the presence of beta-glucans in food slow-release the carbohydrates you eat but it also helps to lower cholesterol. An example of this is a study, conducted by Dr Allan Geliebterof the New York Obesity Research Center at St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital. [1] In that study, Dr Geliebter gave volunteers either an oatmeal breakfast, high in beta-glucans, or a sugared cornflakes breakfast, containing equal calories. Those who had the oat-based breakfast consumed 30 per cent fewer calories at lunch, compared with those who ate sugared cornflakes for breakfast. According to Dr Geliebter, ‘The effect may be due primarily to a delay in gastric emptying, the time it takes for oatmeal to leave the stomach and enter the blood as glucose and other nutrients.

The slower the stomach empties the longer food stays in the stomach and the longer people feel full and satisfied.’ The best foods for beta-glucans [ The full content of this report is only viewable by 100% Health Club members.

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