Using low-glycemic foods to manage diabetes, a method with varying levels of support, could in fact help diabetes patients control their blood sugar, find researchers.
While diabetics carefully consider carbohydrate content of their diet, foods with the same levels of carbohydrates can have very different effects on blood glucose levels. The current study suggests that glycemic index could be a useful way to manage diabetes.
The University of Sydney, Australia team said that in a review of clinical trials, a diet of low-glycemic foods reduced HbA1c (glycosylated hemoglobin) levels, which indicate the degree of control over a period of time, by 0.43 per cent points over and above that produced by high-GI diets.
The researchers identified 14 studies, comprising 356 subjects, that were all randomised crossover or parallel experimental design of 12 days' to 12 months' duration (mean 10 weeks) with modification of at least two meals per day. Only 10 studies documented differences in postprandial glycemia on the two types of diet.
"Choosing low-GI foods in place of conventional or high-GI foods has a small but clinically useful effect on medium-term glycemic control in patients with diabetes. The incremental benefit is similar to that offered by pharmacological agents that also target postprandial hyperglycemia," concluded the researchers.