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Changing the Order of Food Intake May Help Lower Blood Sugar in Diabetics

While it is essential for people with diabetes to follow certain dietary rules in order to keep their blood sugar at a safe level, researchers and doctors have found that it can be very difficult to get people to change their eating habits. A recent study suggests that the order in which people eat their food could also play an important role in how people manage their post-meal blood sugar and insulin levels.


Participants in the study included 11 people who were obese and had type-2 diabetes. All of the participants were also taking metformin, a drug that helps control glucose levels. The participants ate a meal that consisted of carbohydrates in the form of ciabatta bread and orange juice, and protein, vegetables, and fat in the form of chicken breast, lettuce and tomato salad with low-fat dressing, and steamed broccoli with butter. They ate this meal on two days, separated by a week of time.


For the first meal, the researchers measured fasting glucose in the morning, 12 hours after the participants had last eaten. The participants ate the carbohydrates first, followed by the protein, vegetables and fat 15 minutes later. The researchers checked post-meal glucose levels at 30, 60, and 120 minutes intervals.


One week later, the researchers checked the participant’s fasting glucose levels in the morning. This time, the participants ate the protein, vegetables, and fat first, followed by the carbohydrates 15 minutes later. The researchers then collected post-meal glucose levels at the same intervals used previously.


The researchers found that glucose levels were 29%, 37%, and 17% lower at the 30, 60, and 120-minute checks, respectively, when the vegetables and protein were eaten before the carbohydrates. They also noted significantly lower insulin levels when the vegetables and protein were eaten first.


The researchers suggest that doctors might recommend that diabetics change the order in which they eat rather than try to get them to change what they eat.


Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College conducted the study. It was published in the July 2015 issue of Diabetes Care.


While there is no cure for diabetes, certain lifestyle factors are important for managing the disease.  These include following a diabetic diet, not smoking, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol.

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