Saturday, September 15, 2012

Diabetes Foods to Avoid: Oats, Potatoes, and Wheat

Many American, Australian, and British diabetics notice changes almost like remission from diabetes when they travel abroad. The difference may be eating less wheat, potatoes, and oats.
Scientists at the University of Kuopio in Finland tested the idea that wheat, potatoes, and oats might somehow cause the changes that lead to type 2 diabetes, and rye bread might stop them. They recruited volunteers with prediabetes to donate samples of subcutaneous fat before and after a 12-week diet. (The fat samples were taken by needle biopsy.) Both groups of volunteers were given prepared meals with exactly the same total calories, total carbohydrates, fat, protein, and fiber. One group got its carbohydrates from wheat, potatoes, and oats, and the other got its carbohydrates from rye (rye crackers, rye bread, and rye pasta).

At the end of the twelve weeks, the volunteers gave another fat sample and the scientists looked for changes:
  • In the group that ate wheat, potatoes, and oats, 62 genes that increased inflammation and insulin use were more active.
  • In the group that ate rye, 71 genes that increased inflammation and insulin use were less active, and fat cells were smaller. This means that they had less surface area and tied up less insulin.
Blood sugar levels after eating equivalent amounts of carbohydrate on both diets were the same, but the rye group needed less insulin. The rye eaters also had lower levels of the enzyme hormone-sensitive lipase, which is associated with heart disease and high cholesterol.

If you take a trip to Norway and you feel wonderful, it might be the gracious people. It might be beautiful scenery or the northern lights. And it also might be the rye crisps. Striking wheat, potatoes, and oats from your list of diabetes foods and getting more carbs from rye might be helpful for any prediabetic or type 2 diabetic. All you have to do to find out is to make the switch in your diet and to take blood sugar readings regularly.

PS, It's been pointed out that it doesn't seem "fair" to test three foods against one. The way I read this is that there are only so many foods for which the scientists have the genetic data, and they are working with what they know, not what they speculate.

Source:Kallio P, Kolehmainen M, Laaksonen DE, Kekäläinen J, Salopuro T, Sivenius K, Pulkkinen L, Mykkänen HM, Niskanen L, Uusitupa M, Poutanen KS. Dietary carbohydrate modification induces alterations in gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in persons with the metabolic syndrome: the FUNGENUT Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 May;85(5):1417-27.

Photo credit: Thanks to jeffreyw for permitting use of his photo of cheesy potato soup and bread on Wikimedia Commons.


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