Diabetics should save bread for last at mealtime to keep their blood sugar under control, new research suggests.
Carbohydrates trigger a surge in blood sugar levels in sufferers – hence many avoid such foods completely.
But scientists have found that leaving bread, potatoes and pasta til the end helps to control these spikes after eating.
Going straight for the meat and vegetables stops type patients from consuming as much of the carbs, causing a decreased spike.
Weill Cornell Medicine researchers said adopting this technique and saving carbs for last is comparable to the effects of insulin.
Lead author Dr Alpana Shukla said: ‘Eating carbohydrates last may be a simple strategy for regulating post-meal glucose levels.
‘We all recognize that while it’s good to eat less carbs to control blood sugar levels, it may sometimes be difficult to follow this advice.’
How was the study carried out?
For the study, 16 type 2 diabetics consumed the exact same meal three different times, eating the items in a different order.
The items were bread, chicken, salad and orange juice, the team of researchers wrote in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.
What did they find?
When people ate the carbs last, their post-meal blood glucose levels were about half as high as when they ate carbs first.
They were also around 40 per cent lower than when they ate all meal components together, the scientists found.
The carbohydrate-last meal was also associated with lower insulin secretion and higher levels of a gut hormone that helps regulate glucose and satiety.
Insulin levels required to keep study participants’ glucose under control were about 25 percent lower when they followed the carbs-last plan.
A hidden killer
Often thought of as harmless, type 2 diabetes is a hidden killer and can lead to heart failure, blindness, kidney disease and leg amputations.
Controlling blood sugar levels is considered to be the key to reducing the risk of life-changing complications for those already diagnosed.
The condition is caused by having too much glucose in the blood because the body’s way of turning it into energy is not working properly.
As it progresses, sufferers often need to maintain a healthy diet, exercise and a combination of medications to manage it.
Someone’s life expectancy with type 2 diabetes is likely to be reduced as a result of the condition, by up to 10 years, it is believed.
Worldwide, there are believed to be around 380 million sufferers. In Britain this has topped 3.8 million, a figure that continues to rise.
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