The Glycemic Index(GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbs with low GI value (55 or less) are digested, absorbed and metabolised slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood glucose.
According to the researchers, plant-based diets benefit both glycemic control and cardiovascular health because they are low in saturated fat, rich in phytochemicals, high in fibre and often rich in low-glycemic fruits and vegetables.
"The link between diabetes and cardiovascular disease is strong. 60-70 per cent of people who have Type 2 diabetes die of heart disease," said co-author Hana Kahleova, Director of Clinical Research at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington DC.
"The good news is that this study shows that the same simple prescription -- eating a plant-based diet -- can reduce our risk for heart problems and improve Type 2 diabetes at the same time," Kahleova added.
Much has been said about the link between diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. The findings revealed that those with diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those who do not have diabetes.
For the study, the researchers reviewed nine randomised controlled trials -- nearly 700 participants -- that assessed the effectiveness of vegan and vegetarian diets for diabetes patients.
Participants who consumed a plant-based diet were found to have lower cholesterol levels. They had also lost weight, lowered HbA1c levels, and improved other cardiometabolic risk factors when compared to those who ate a non-vegetarian diet.
There was no significant effect on fasting insulin, HDL-C, triglycerides or blood pressure. The overall certainty of evidence was moderate. More studies are required to investigate its impact on fasting insulin, triglycerides, and waist circumference.
Vegetables For Diabetics
Foods like broccoli, bitter gourd,bananas, spinach, and amla are good vegetarian sources diabetes can bank on, to manage blood sugar naturally.
Bangalore-based Dr. Anju Sood who was not part of the study told us how karela juice or bitter gourd could prove to be very effective.
"Karela juice makes your insulin active. When your insulin is active, your sugar would be used adequately and not convert into fat, which would eventually help in weight loss too"
According to studies, bitter gourd has a few active substances with anti-diabetic properties. One of them is charantin, which is famous for its blood glucose-lowering effect. Bitter gourd contains an insulin-like compound called Polypeptide-p or p-insulin which has been shown to control diabetes naturally. These substances either work individually or together to help reduce blood sugar levels.
(With inputs IANS)