You probably aren’t able to count how many times you’ve heard, “CARBS ARE THE ENEMY!” And we all know what that means, right? Pasta is the enemy. Bread is the enemy. In most cases, that has held true for diabetics everywhere that need to administer insulin before a meal.
A recent study at Weill-Cornell Medical College shows that carbs — namely bread — may not be the enemy, but that the enemy may be when you choose to eat bread. No, no, no, we don’t mean the whole, “don’t eat right before you fall asleep” thing; we mean literally the order of how you eat your meal.
See, in restaurants across the country (and in the home), bread is often served as something of an appetizer, or starter, as something that’s supposed to whet your appetite for your main course. And, well, it DOES whet your appetite.
“Seeing this, researchers then asked the question: what if we reverse the order?”
According to the study, which included six women and five men with type 2 diabetes, eating bread prior to eating the main course(s) spiked both blood sugar and appetite. Seeing this, researchers then asked the question: what if we reverse the order?
So, instead of serving a different meal to the study participants, the same meal was prepared — grilled chicken, steamed vegetables, a salad dressed with vinaigrette, and one standard-sized ciabatta roll. The only difference was that it was eaten in that order, rather than starting the meal off with the ciabatta roll. And the results were quite staggering. Just by doing this simple swap, “the participants’ peak blood sugar was about 30 percent lower” than what it had been when eating the meal in the initial order. Meaning: diabetics won’t have to administer as much insulin as they may have initially thought before consuming carbs.
While the researchers acknowledge how large that difference is, they understand that this small study has sparked more questions than answers. For example, what about sandwiches? What sort of effect will combining carbs with proteins and fats have on blood sugar? Maybe we’ll find out soon enough, as the researchers are beyond eager to begin their exploration.