Diabetes: Eating Grains and Monitoring Blood glucose Level

Gretchen Becker Health Guide
  • Dieticians keep telling us to eat more "healthy whole grains" and fish for optimal health.

     

    One problem with this prescription is defining more. More than other foods? More than we're already eating? More than we ate last year?

     

    There are, of course, formulas for what the dieticians think we should be eating. This percentage of one food, that percentage of another. But do you know anyone who sits down at the dinner table with a calculator to figure out what percentage of fat is in the meal?

     

    I don't.

     

    And when you tell people to eat "more" of some food, they may in fact eat more than they need, thinking the more the better.

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    In fact, the reason dieticians told people with diabetes to eat more carbohydrates was that they wanted them to eat less fat. The idea was that they'd substitute the carbohydrates for the fat, and in the past, this was considered to be a healthy change.

     

    But I know one woman who was told to eat more carbohydrates, so she ate her customary meal, putting butter on everything, and then added starches, thereby eating the same amount of fat, making the calorie content of the meal even higher than it had been, and making her blood glucose level go up from all the carbohydrates.

     

    Times are changing, and even the American Diabetes Association is now admitting that eating more monounsaturated fat and less carbohydrate may be a better option for people with diabetes. And other recommendations may also change with time.

     

    A recent study of the components of the "Mediterranean" Diet, which has been shown to be pretty healthy, suggests that some highly touted components of this diet, including grains and fish, may have very little effect on mortality, at least for the population studied: 28,572 apparently health Greek men and women aged 26 to 86 years who participated in the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition) study.

     

    In fact, those who ate the most fish and other seafood had a slight increase in mortality, although this increase was not statistically significant.

     

    Of the other components studied, only moderate alcohol consumption had a statistically significant beneficial effect on mortality. Both low alcohol consumption and high alcohol consumption resulted in higher mortality rates.

     

    The other components of the diet had no statistically significant effects, although the authors noted that high consumption of vegetables, legumes, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and low consumption of meat and "meat products" had beneficial (but not statistically significant) effects.

     

    The components with the least effect at all were high cereal consumption and low dairy consumption.

     

    The authors suggested that the lack of effect of high cereal consumption may be because they didn't differentiate between whole grains and processed grains.

     

    Maybe.

     

    Or maybe grains aren't so healthy after all.

     

    If you have diabetes, grains, even whole grains, will probably make your blood glucose levels go up. The best way to discover how much is to test your blood glucose levels 1 and 2 hours after eating high-grain meals.

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    Then decide for yourself how healthy those "healthy whole grains" are for you.

     

    For more on this see here.

     

     

Published On: July 27, 2009