[PHNUTR-L] UK Sugar Bureau: Carbohydrates Improve Insulin Control
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD
fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com
Mon Jan 16 05:43:13 PST 2006
Colleagues, I hope this generates some comments. - Kathrynne
Carbohydrates Improve Insulin Control
16 Jan 2006
It is commonly believed that carbohydrates, particularly sugar, are a
cause of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. However, such thinking
has been challenged following the publication of a thorough appraisal of
the evidence, in the latest edition of Nutrition Research Reviews.
Dr Neville McClenaghan, from the University of Ulster , conducted a
large review of scientific studies investigating the effect of high and
low carbohydrate diets on blood glucose control in people with and
The author of this review concludes that there is no evidence to suggest
that carbohydrate-rich diets are a cause of insulin resistance or type 2
diabetes in humans. In fact, he suggests that diets rich in
carbohydrates, which tend to be naturally low in fat may help improve
insulin control. Furthermore it is well established that high fat diets,
particularly those rich in saturates, not only interfere the normal
action of insulin but also encourage weight gain, which itself increases
risk of insulin resistance.
Many people with type 2 diabetes wrongly restrict the amount of
carbohydrate in their diet. This paper adds weight to current dietary
advice which recommends that meals should be based around carbohydrate
rich foods, such as bread, pasta or rice, that there is no need to
restrict sugars specifically, and that the amount of saturated fat in
the diet is restricted.
Insulin resistance is a common but often silent disorder which occurs
when the body does not respond appropriately to the effects of insulin
(see below). Insulin resistance can lead to, and is a feature of, the
more serious condition, type 2 diabetes.
Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, is needed for normal
glucose, fat and protein metabolism. Insulin controls the amount of
glucose in the blood by enabling glucose to enter cells (e.g. muscle and
liver cells) which need glucose for fuel. With insulin resistance the
body either can not produce enough insulin or the body's cells do not
respond fully to its effects. This ultimately leads to a raised blood
glucose. Having blood glucose that is either too high (hyperglycaemia)
or too low (hypoglycaemia) is dangerous to health, for example,
long-term hyperglycaemia is associated with an increased risk of kidney
and eye problems.
Fat metabolism is also affected by insulin resistance raising the risk
of heart disease, the most common cause of death amongst people with
On a global scale, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are becoming
increasingly common. Whilst genetics account for some degree of
susceptibility to these disorders, lifestyle factors such as diet and
physical activity levels can have a large impact on risk. Insulin
resistance is closely involved in type 2 diabetes, and is thought to be
a precursor to the disease. In people with and without type 2 diabetes,
a diet rich in carbohydrate and low in fat appears to offer protection
against insulin resistance. Being of a healthy body weight and also
maintaining an active lifestyle will help reduce the risk of developing
type 2 diabetes.
Click here to see source
Peer reviewed publication and references
McClenaghan NH (2005) Determining the relationship between dietary
carbohydrate intake and insulin resistance. Nutrition Research Reviews.
About THE SUGAR BUREAU
The Sugar Bureau is the trade association for the UK sugar industry. It
is funded principally by British Sugar and Tate and Lyle, with smaller
contributions from Irish Sugar and the UK Sugar Merchants Association.
Since 1990, The Sugar Bureau has been involved in promoting nutrition
research and raising awareness among academics, health professionals,
the media and the public about the role of sugars in the diet.
Kathrynne Holden, MS, RD < fivestar at nutritionucanlivewith.com >
"Ask the Parkinson Dietitian" http://www.parkinson.org/
"Eat well, stay well with Parkinson's disease"
"Parkinson's disease: Guidelines for Medical Nutrition Therapy"
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