Eating Protein Before Carbs May Lower Glucose Levels
The order in which you consume food during a meal can affect your blood sugar level, according to researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York.
Previous studies had suggested eating protein before carbohydrates might be a simple way to lower glucose levels, so the team wanted to see if this held true for a typical meal in a western diet, which usually includes protein, vegetables, fat and carbohydrates.
The team studied 11 people diagnosed with obesity and type 2 diabetes, who were also taking a glucose regulating medication. The patients were given the same meals and after each week, were asked to eat them in a different order. Overall, blood glucose levels were checked once in the morning - 12 hours after their last meal of the day, as well as 30, 60 and 120 minutes after eating the meal. For the first week of the study, patients were asked to eat the bread and juice at the start of the meal and then consume the protein vegetables and fat food groups 15 minutes later. The second week, the patients were asked to reverse the order, eating the other food groups first and the carbs and juice after 15 minutes.
Researchers found that at the 30, 60 and 120-minute checks, glucose levels were respectively, 29 percent, 37 percent, and 17 percent lower when protein and vegetables were eaten before carbs. Insulin levels were also found to be “significantly lower” when carbs were eaten last. Although this was a small-scale study, researchers believe these results may help clinicians offer their patients different ways to eat meals instead of restricting certain food groups. The study was published in the journal, Diabetes Care.