Low-Glycemic-Load Diet May Help Prevent Type 2 Diabetes

A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition looked at data from 24 studies and found people who ate a low-glycemic-load diet were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The range of daily glycemic loads across the studies was approximately 60 to 280 grams and the study's researchers found:

  • For every 100-gram decrease in daily glycemic load, diabetes risk dropped by 45%.

  • The protective effect of a low-daily-glycemic load was stronger in women.

  • European Americans seemed to benefit more from a low-glycemic-load diet than people of other ethnicities.

In light of these results, one of the study's authors concluded that, “Altogether, our meta-analysis supports that glycemic load is an important and underestimated dietary characteristic that, among others, contributes significantly to the incidence of type 2 diabetes.” If you're ready to begin reducing your daily glycemic load, here are a few easy ways to start:

  • Choose juicy fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables (such as berries and squashes) with high water and low carbohydrate content have lower glycemic loads than certain starchy fruits and vegetables, like bananas and russet potatoes.
  • Cool your carbs. Cooling carbohydrate foods like potatoes, rice, and pasta after cooking them increases their content of resistant starch (indigestible carbohydrates) and lowers their glycemic loads, so consider eating these foods in salads or other unheated dishes.
  • Snack on nuts. Nuts and seeds have very low glycemic loads. Keep nut portions to 1 ounce.

Source: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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