Experts suggest diabetics should eat carbs at the end of meals to help maintain blood sugar levels
02/24/2019 // Jhoanna Robinson // Views

Foods that are rich in carbohydrates induce a spike in blood sugar levels in diabetics; however, researchers at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York recently found out that consuming carbohydrate-containing foods – like bread, pasta, and potatoes – after the end of the meal helps manage such surges.

Diabetes patients should dive right into their meat and vegetables at the start of the meal, researchers say. Doing so can help dissuade them from ingesting too many carbs, as there might be a chance that they might be too full from all the meats and vegetables that they had already consumed.

Eating carbohydrates last may be a simple strategy for regulating post-meal glucose levels. We all recognize that while it's good to eat less carbs to control blood sugar levels, it may sometimes be difficult to follow this advice,” says Dr. Alpana Shukla, lead author of the study.

The study

Researchers conducted a study involving 16 men and women with Type 2 diabetes. They were asked to eat the exact same meal on separate occasions, one week apart, eating the items in a different order each time.

They ate bread and orange juice first, rested for 10 minutes, and finished with the chicken and salad; at another time, the meal was eaten in reverse – the chicken and veggies went first, then followed by bread washed down by orange juice.

Eating carbohydrates at the end of the meal caused diabetics' post-meal blood glucose levels to be about half as high than when they ate their carbs first. Also, blood glucose levels were 40 percent lower than when they ate all food components together.


The carbohydrate-last meal was also linked with higher levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) – a gut hormone that manages glucose and satiety – and lower insulin secretion. It can also aid in weight management, the researchers say.

Shukla said keeping blood glucose levels low is important for people with Type 2 diabetes so as to guard them from severe complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, and vision loss. If they must consume carbohydrates, Shukla said, they better stick to complex carbohydrates (beans, whole grains, whole wheat bread, cereal, corn, oats, peas, rice) rather than ingest simple sugars (raw sugar; brown sugar; high-fructose corn syrup; fruit juice concentrate; and fructose, glucose, and sucrose).

Type 2 diabetes: A slow but sure death

Type 2 diabetes, aside from being a chronic disease by itself, can give rise to a slew of a whole set of other ailments, such as heart failure, blindness, kidney disorder, among others, that can often lead to the risk of needing leg amputations. (Related: High-glycemic carbohydrates lead to heart disease.)

Ingesting around a mere 600 calories a day for eight weeks can go a long way towards saving the lives of millions of patients with this chronic disorder. According to scientists at Newwcastle University in Tyne in the U.K., taking in too much calories can cause fatty liver, a condition in which the liver produces too much glucose.

The excess fat then travels to the pancreas, which causes insulin-producing cells to lose their ability to function, thus causing diabetes. Losing less than one gram of fat from the pancreas can optimize insulin production and help reverse Type 2 diabetes.

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