Low Glycemic Breakfast May Reduce Sugar Spikes

Many people with diabetes use the glycemic index to help manage their blood sugar.  A recent study from Purdue University showed that eating low glycemic foods early in the day may help prevent blood sugar spikes later in the day.

Diabetes is the condition that results when sugar or glucose accumulates in the blood.  Normally the body uses insulin to help glucose move from the bloodstream into cells where it is used as an energy source.  People with diabetes do not produce enough insulin or their bodies are not able to use it effectively, which allows sugar to build up in the blood to dangerously high levels.

The glycemic index is a tool used to estimate how fast a particular food is likely to elevate sugar levels in the blood.  Foods that are assigned a high number in the glycemic index are more likely to provide a quick boost in blood sugar.  Foods with a low glycemic index will have less impact on blood sugar.  Foods with lower numbers also help sustain a stable blood sugar level for a longer period of time.

The Purdue University study shows that foods with a low glycemic index may help stabilize blood sugar levels with benefits extending from breakfast through the morning and past lunch.   The research team believes breakfast foods with a low glycemic index can help people feel full early in the day and may help reduce the urge to overeat for the rest of the day.

Professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue University Richard Mattes, M.P.H., R.D. focused his research specifically on almonds.  Almonds contain virtually no carbs and therefore have very little if any effect on blood sugar, giving them a glycemic index of zero.  Mattes studied the effects on blood sugar when people ate a breakfast containing whole almonds.  He concluded that the participants felt full longer and had lower blood sugar readings after both breakfast and lunch, compared to people who did not eat a low glycemic breakfast.

Mattes also concluded that when people in the study ate a low glycemic food as part of their regular diet, they chose to eat less the rest of the day.  Low glycemic foods are not necessarily low-calorie foods, so care must still be taken to eat an appropriate number of calories per day to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

The research team emphasized the importance of eating a healthy, low glycemic breakfast to maintain both a healthy weight and sugar level.  Estimates show that by the year 2030, more than 16% of people around the world will have problems with high blood sugar.  Researcher Kantha Shelke, Ph.D. said, "Most of the risk factors are things that can be managed and modified. We can reverse pre-diabetes and prevent it from becoming diabetes. Food has become the reason for what's ailing us, but it can actually be a solution in a number of different ways."

Denise DeWitt is a freelance writer for EmpowHER.com.

Related Links:

Diabetes: Using A Blood Glucose Meter
Fenugreek – An Herb that May Lower Blood Sugar



Science Daily. Glycemic Index Foods at Breakfast Can Control Blood Sugar Throughout the Day. Web. April 1, 2012.


Diabetes net. Glycemic Index. Web. April 1, 2012.


The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002.  Kaye Foster-Powell , Susanna HA Holt, and Janette C Brand-Miller. Web. April 1, 2012.


Carbs Information.  Glycemic Index for: Almonds.  Web. April 1, 2012.


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