Read full article By Lisa Rapaport @ Everyday Health Photo Credit: Adobe Stock
Results from a recent review support previous evidence that suggests the family of cereal grains, which are low on the glycemic index, are a diabetes-friendly food.
For preventing or living well with type 2 diabetes, you may think carbohydrates are the enemy and cut them from your diet. But a new study suggests certain carbs may actually be worth adding to your plate to achieve these health goals.
Specifically, a group of grains called millets, which include sorghum and other seeded grasses grown as cereal crops, may help lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and lower A1C, or average blood sugar over about three months, in individuals managing diabetes, according to a study published in July 2021 in Frontiers in Nutrition. That’s because these grains have a lower glycemic index than alternatives such as white rice and refined wheat, the study authors note.
Researchers examined data from 65 small studies that, combined, had about 1,000 participants. The millets used had a mean glycemic index (GI) of 52.7, significantly lower than white rice (GI 71.7) and refined wheat (GI 74.2), the analysis found. Glycemic index scores range from 1 to 100, with higher scores indicating foods that produce bigger, and faster, spikes in blood sugar after a meal.
The study looked at how eating millets influenced short-term blood sugar levels as well as A1C.
For people with diabetes, regular consumotion of millets reduced average fasting blood sugar levels by 12 percent and decreased average post-meal blood sugar levels by 15 percent. These changes were large enough that researchers no longer considered these patients diabetic, and instead classified them as having prediabetes.
When people had prediabetes, or slightly elevated blood sugar that’s not high enough for a full-blown diabetes diagnosis, millets reduced average A1C levels by 17 percent, enough for these individuals to have blood sugar in a normal, healthy range, the study also found.
“The lower the GI of a food, the lower its propensity for raising blood glucose levels,” says the lead study author, Seetha Anitha, PhD, a senior scientist at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics in Patancheru, India.