Choosing the Right Carbs Can Have Health Benefits
Whole grains good for glucose
In this new study, 10 men (average age 21 years) ate an evening meal of white bread or cooked barley kernels. The next morning they were given a glucose drink and had various blood tests including measurement of glucose and insulin levels. Results showed:
- Glucose levels were 29% lower in men who ate the barley compared with men who ate the white bread.
- The men who ate the barley had higher insulin sensitivity (which means their bodies were better able to handle glucose) compared with men who ate the white bread.
- Blood tests that measure inflammation were higher in the men who ate white bread compared with men who ate the barley.
Tips for healthy eatingCarbohydrates are essential for fueling the body and mind with energy. But it is true that some carbohydrates are healthier for you than others. Healthy carbohydrates can improve your health but processed carbohydrates high in sugar and low in fiber can worsen glucose levels and your health. Here are some tips for healthy eating:
- Choose healthy carbohydrates. Include a variety of healthy carbohydrates in your daily diet including whole grains, beans, fruits and veggies, and avoid highly processed foods.
- Choose whole rather than refined grains. Whole grains such as barley, brown rice, and whole wheat bread have more nutrients, protein, and fiber than refined grains such as white rice or white bread.
- Limit sugar. Avoid high sugar foods that offer few nutrients. Also limit sweets, processed foods, soft drinks, and other high sugar beverages.
- Choose fruit or veggies for snacks. It may be hard to change habits at first but sticking with it can pay off. Choose fruit or veggies for snacks instead of processed snacks which usually contain high amounts of sugar, fat and/or salt.
- See a doctor. If you already have diabetes or other chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, check with your doctor about a diet that is right for you.
(Am J Clin Nutr 2010;91:90–7)