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Healthy Diabetic Diet May Include Beans

Ava Lawson | November 8th, 2012

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Packed with fiber and nutrition, beans have always been an integral part of a well-balanced diet. But recent studies show that a one-cup serving per day may actually help individuals with Type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, while reducing risk of heart attack or stroke. The study also included legumes, such as lentils and chick peas, in their findings.

Dr. David Jenkins of Toronto’s St. Michael Hospital states, “Legumes are good protein sources, and proteins tend to dampen the blood glucose response and they lower blood pressure.” The bottom line: beans may be a smart addition to a healthy diabetic diet.

Type 2 patients struggle to control their blood sugar levels, and are often confined to foods with a low glycemic index such as legumes, but there are only a handful of studies proving their direct effect in managing diabetes, according to Dr. Jenkins. The majority of patients who find permanent success in controlling their disease or reversing pre diabetes are those who follow a physician-guided diabetic diet for weight loss that includes moderate exercise.

Programs at The Center for Medical Weight Loss help people at risk for developing the disease, or those who already have diabetes, by offering specialized plans that are easy to follow, and deliver results.

Beans may also lower blood pressure

In the study, 121 diabetics were split into two groups, one was asked to increase their intake of cooked legumes by one cup a day, while the other group consumed more fiber-rich whole wheat products. After a period of three months, those who ate beans had a drop in hemoglobin A1c blood sugar levels from 7.4% to 6.9%, while the whole wheat group dropped from 7.2% to 6.9%.

In addition to the slight drop in blood glucose levels, the bean control group also showed a small decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. In light of the results, Dr. Jenkins estimated that diabetics who consumed legumes daily could potentially lower their 10-year risk of stroke by just less than one percentage point compared to those who ate whole wheat products. While such targeted nutritional therapy has rewards, some in the medical community question if diabetics can eat the vast quantities of legumes necessary to enjoy the health benefits. 

Physician-assisted diabetic diet for weight loss

When starting a diabetes diet for weight loss, it’s important to consult with a trained physician who can monitor your progress and medication needs. Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer for The Center for Medical Weight Loss, explains that many patients no longer require insulin to control their diabetes, once significant weight loss has been achieved.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” Dr. Kaplan stated.

Currently, there are more than 450 Centers throughout the nation helping people in reversing diabetes completely. Join the thousands who have authored successful weight stories at The Center for Medical Weight Loss. To find the Center nearest you, enter your zip code in the box at the right. Special introductory offers for first-time clients are available at select locations.