Good news for potato lovers - especially diabetics

  • People with type 2 diabetes are often told to avoid potatoes because they have a high glycemic index (GI)
  • This is especially true at night when sugar levels are higher
  • A recent study found that type 2 diabetes sufferers do, however, not need to avoid potatoes 

People with type 2 diabetes are often warned against the consumption of high GI foods, such as white potatoes, especially at night as they tend to make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.

Glycaemic Index (GI) is a measurement used to determine how certain foods raise our blood sugar. This is called our glycaemic response.

Traditional guidelines for type 2 diabetes sufferers involve avoiding potatoes in order to avoid a sharp rise in blood sugar levels after eating. However, a recent study has shown that sufferers of type 2 diabetes need not avoid potatoes, as eating potatoes might in fact result in a desired glycaemic response.

Researchers investigated the impact of potato consumption as part of a mixed evening meal on nocturnal glycaemic response.

Favourable results

Researchers undertook a study involving 24 males and females with type 2 diabetes in four experimental trials after consuming breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Each meal consisted of 50% carbohydrates, 30% fat and 20% protein. Dinner included potatoes that were either boiled, roasted, boiled and cooled, or basmati rice. Blood samples were consistently taken before and after eating to monitor the participants’ glycaemic response and control. They also wore monitors overnight to observe their blood sugar levels while sleeping.

Potatoes do no harm

The study concluded that there was no significant difference in glycemic response after eating high GI boiled or roasted potato-based meals compared to low GI basmati rice. On the contrary, it was found that eating potato-based meals at night had more favourable results than the low GI basmati rice.

Corresponding author Dr Brooke Devlin stated, "Our study shows high GI foods, like potatoes, can be consumed as part of a healthy evening meal without negatively affecting [glycemic response] … while delivering key nutrients in relatively few calories, which is essential for people with [type 2 diabetes]."

Image credit: Unsplash

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