Are Lentils Effective at Reducing Glucose Response in a Diabetic Diet?

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Proper diabetic diets are typically the most preferred method of diabetes management and prevention.

So has the scientific literature uncovered any tips that could be helpful to those looking to control their glucose response, either to manage type 2 diabetes or to prevent it?

It appears the answer may be yes.

Researchers out of Ontario studied the effects replacing some high-glycemic foods (in this case potatoes and white rice) in part with lentils to determine the blood glucose response of study subjects.

The results were very promising and may give us some insight into a dietary option that could be helpful to all who are looking to control glucose response.

The researchers, whose work was published in The Journal of Nutrition in 2018, assigned two groups of 24 healthy adults to eat 50g of carbohydrates from rice alone, from instant potato alone, or a 50/50 mix of each of those starches with commercially available lentils.

The results were very encouraging.

When half of the available carbohydrates from rice were traded in for lentils, the relative glycemic response (RGR) was reduced by between 13.5% and 21.5%, depending on the type of lentil.

Large green lentils had the least impact while small green lentils had the greatest.

When it came to potato, the results were even greater. Swapping in lentils for half of the carbohydrates from potatoes resulted in a reduction of RGR between 33.8% and 35.6%.

Again, large green lentils performed at the lower end but this time split red lentils performed the best.

In both cases, though, all lentils tested had a positive effect.

What does this tell us?

The ability of lentils as a carbohydrate source to reduce glucose response shows the potential to help reduce the risk of attaining related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.

Since the study was conducted on healthy adults, it does not address the impact it could have on those who already have type 2 diabetes. However, given its results, it may be something those with T2D might want to consider speaking to their doctors about.


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