One simple strategy cuts post-meal sugar spikes in half

With all of the information and science we have on the record now in support of low-carb diets, two things never cease to amaze me.

The first is that the medical community still hasn’t fully embraced this strategy as the lifesaver it is. The second is that we feel the need, for whatever reason, to keep paying for studies to tell us what we presumably already know.

Though to be fair, the study I want to share with you today isn’t exactly the same as all the other low carb studies out there. These researchers put a different twist on the low-carb approach. (Most likely as a means to save face with a medical community that still thinks we should all be eating a million servings of carbohydrates per day.)

But it’s Thanksgiving. Most dinner tables tonight are going to be a minefield for dieters and diabetics alike. So with that in mind, here’s one important tip…

If you absolutely must eat carbs with your meal (and why anyone thinks they need bread in their life is beyond me, but hey…), at the very least, save them for last. Why? Because apparently, a new study concluded that saving carbs for the end of the meal encourages better blood sugar control in diabetics.

Of course, this is a big “DUH!” for anyone who’s familiar with the way your body digests and absorbs food. Eating higher carb foods last lowers the glycemic index of the total meal and slows glucose absorption—thus preventing any big blood sugar spikes (and the extreme hunger that comes with these ups and downs).

But if there’s any day to revisit this basic tenet of nutrition, it’s today. So let’s look at the study, shall we?

The researchers recruited 16 subjects with type 2 diabetes to eat the exact same meal (chicken, vegetables, bread, and orange juice) on three separate occasions, each a week apart. Subjects consumed the exact same amount of calories and carbohydrates each time — but the order in which they ate the foods changed.

And, as anyone could’ve predicted, when subjects ate carbs last, post-meal blood sugar spikes were only half as high as when they ate carbs first. (And about 40 percent lower than when they ate everything in the meal at the same time.)

Eating carbs last also meant less insulin was released — subjects’ levels were about 25 percent lower. And they also had higher levels of GLP-1, the same peptide I talked about on Monday, which is essential to sugar metabolism and hunger control.

Next up, the research team is going to test this carbs-last approach in subjects with prediabetes — with a goal toward seeing if this simple dietary strategy could have a hand in diabetes prevention. And I can tell them the answer to that question right now: unequivocally, YES.

How could it not? The post-meal blood sugar decreases that the researchers achieved in this study were comparable to what you would see with diabetes drugs. And all they had to do was bump carbs to the end of the meal.

But here’s a novel thought… how about not eating carbohydrates at all? Because you know what? Our bodies don’t need them. (And they especially don’t need fruit juice — which is pretty much just straight liquid sugar.)

This is the dietary advice that doctors really should be giving their diabetic patients. And it’s certainly the route that I suggest taking — whether you have diabetes or not.

It might seem like a hard pill to swallow when everyone around you is piling their plate with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. (Although it shouldn’t — everyone knows that the turkey is the most important part of the meal anyway.)

But if you step back and look at the bigger picture, it’s hard to feel deprived.

Balanced blood sugar protects you from a long list of life-threatening and livelihood-robbing complications like heart disease, blindness, and nerve damage (among others). And that’s something you can truly be thankful for.