Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bring on the Beans to help with diabetes

In Archives of Internal Medicine, Dr David Jenkins and colleagues report on a study that found consuming about 1 cup (190g) of cooked legumes (beans, chickpeas or lentils) helped people with diabetes manage their blood glucose. It also lowered total cholesterol and triglycerides. The 3-month study with a group of 121 people with type 2 diabetes found that a daily dose of beans had a greater effect on reducing blood pressure as part of a low GI diet compared with a high wheat (insoluble) fibre diet. Even better, after three months, hemoglobin A1c levels had dropped from 7.4% to 6.9% in people eating beans, while it had fallen from 7.2% to 6.9% in those getting extra whole wheat. Even though the drops were not huge says Jenkins, they were impressive in part because the whole-grain comparison diet is a healthy one and in part because people in the study were already on diabetes and blood pressure medications. ‘We hope that this could be the point that allows a person with diabetes to delay medication use,’ he said.

What about wind? The study didn’t find any more gastrointestinal complaints in the legume group, although the comparison group also got a lot of fibre, which could have drowned out a potential effect.


It’s easy to boost your bean intake – home-cooked or canned – simply top some toast with baked beans for a light meal, serve dhal with that curry, add chickpeas to stir fries, red kidney beans to chilli, lentils to a ragu, a 4-bean salad to that barbecue menu, and enrich casseroles and soups with beans and lentils. Here are some flavoursome favourites from The GI News Kitchen to try:

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