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Low-glycaemic diet improves blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes

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Patients with type 2 diabetes whose diet is high in low-glycaemic foods have better blood sugar control than those who eat a diet high in cereal-fibre, suggest Canadian researchers.

The team from the University of Toronto studied 210 patients with type 2 diabetes who were taking oral medications to control their blood sugar.

Over six months, half the patients ate a diet high in low-glycaemic foods, such as beans, peas, lentils, nuts and pasta. The rest ate a diet high in ‘brown’ foods, including whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, and potatoes with skins.

The researchers found that the HbA1c levels of those who followed a low-glycaemic diet decreased by -0.5%, compared to just -0.18% for those with a high cereal-fibre diet. The study also found that those on the low-glycaemic diet had improved cholesterol levels.

The authors said the reduction in HbA1c was modest but significant. ‘Lowering the glycaemic index of the diet improved glycaemic control and risk factors for coronary heart disease. These data have important implications for the treatment of diabetes where the goal has been tight glycaemic control to avoid complications,’ they said.

Journal of the American Medical Association (2008) 300: 2742-2753

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