Low glycemic index diet found to lower health threats from high blood pressure

A new review of a dozen randomised controlled trials has found that a lower glycemic index (GI) diet proves effective for reducing blood pressure and, by extension, reducing heart disease risks.

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is one of the features of the metabolic syndrome and a strong risk factor for cardiovascular disease, a common long-term complication of type 2 diabetes.

Damage to nerves and blood vessels can arise from high blood sugars, and heart complications develop much more quickly if blood pressure is high. This is because tissues in the heart are especially vulnerable to increases in blood pressure.

We know from previous research that a lower-carbohydrate diet, which generally is considered a lower-GI diet, is associated with measurable decreases in blood pressure.

In this new research review, comprised of a total of 14 six-week long trials and involving 1097 healthy participants, researchers found similar results.

Thirteen of those trials reported that a reduction in glycemic index by 10 units decreased both systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DPB) by 1.1 and 1.3 mm Hg, respectively.

In addition to that, nine trials found that a reduction in glycemic load of 28 units reduced overall SBP and DBP by 2.0 and 1.4 mm Hg, respectively.

Taken together, these results tend to indicate that lower-GI and GL diet may benefit high blood pressure, likely because they help reduce blood sugar.

It is thought that when the body produces too much insulin and leptin in response to a higher-carb, high-GI diet, it causes blood pressure to increase. Another factor is the effects of glycation on lipoproteins leading to atherosclerosis and therefore narrowed blood vessels.

Yet, one of the first recommendations to lower blood sugar is to cut back on salt. There might be far more to maintaining a healthy blood pressure than eating a low-salt diet, which is a strategy that works for some people and fails for others.

In that sense, this review may implicitly suggest that it is time for guidelines aimed at controlling hypertension to shift focus away from salt and focus greater attention to the likely more consequential reduction in sugar.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, going on a low-carb, lower-GI diet may go a long way toward controlling your levels. You can find out more by joining our Low Carb Program.

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Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common long-term health conditions

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison.

This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar, likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However, the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

In recent years, it has become apparent that many people with type 2 diabetes are able to reverse diabetes through methods including low-carb diets, very-low-calorie diets and exercise.

For guidance on healthy eating to improve blood glucose levels and weight and to fight back against insulin resistance, join the Low Carb Program.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells in your body. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream and convert it into energy.

Ineffective use of insulin results in the body becoming resistant to insulin – also known as insulin resistance, which in turn causes blood sugar levels to rise (hyperglycemia).

In advanced stages, type 2 diabetes may cause damage to insulin producing cells in…

Eating Avocado May Help Prevent Risks Associated With Heart Disease

A new analysis of existing research shows that consuming the creamy fruit can help with metabolic syndrome, a constellation of diseases and symptoms that include heart disease and type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.

Researchers analyzed more than 100 published studies that examined how consuming avocado can affect individual aspects of metabolic syndrome. They found that avocado, along with avocado oil or even peel, may have protective effects on the heart, including lowering “bad” cholesterol, reducing hypertension and lowering risk of obesity.

An avocado-rich diet had the most positive effect on “good” HDL cholesterol levels and may lower “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. That’s important because high levels of bad cholesterol is one of the biggest indicators of heart disease risk, according to the National Institutes of Health.

The researchers also noted that…

New study shows link between metabolic syndrome and cognitive abilities in U.S. adolescents

A new study of U.S. adolescents shows an association between metabolic syndrome and impairments in reading, attention, and working memory. Treatment can control and perhaps even reverse metabolic syndrome, which affects about 9% of teens in the U.S. and 12%-44% of obese adolescents, and may help reduce the cognitive effects described in the study published in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary…

New cut-off point recommended for diagnosing prediabetes

A new study in the BMJ reports that the cut-off scores for defining whether someone has prediabetes needs revising.

Prediabetes, a term that is often used interchangeably with metabolic syndrome, exists when a person is diagnosed with high blood sugar levels near-characteristic of type 2 diabetes.

Someone who is diagnosed with prediabetes will also usually have higher than normal blood sugar levels after eating, and/or raised HbA1c levels.

The cut-off points at which a person’s blood sugar is considered abnormal vary across guidelines and countries.

This study suggests that health risks associated with prediabetes seem to increase at the lower cut-off point for blood sugar levels recommended by some guidelines.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines prediabetes as fasting glucose levels of 6.1 to 6.9 mmol/L, while NICE considers abnormal anything above 7.0 mmol/L.

After conducting a meta-analysis of 53 studies, involving over 1.6 million individuals, researchers from Southern Medical University in China found that risk assessment for prediabetes should be reviewed.

They found that the increased risk of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality from prediabetes tend to be higher in people with fasting blood sugar levels as low as 5.6 mmol/L.

This corresponds to the American Diabetes Association (ADA)’s lower cut-off point for impaired fasting blood sugar levels.

Aside from having blood sugar levels regularly tested, the most effective preventative tools in our arsenal against prediabetes remain eating a balanced diet and exercising often.

The new findings highlight that the problem of labelling people as having prediabetes is that these categories are unstable and the risk progression from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes differs between populations.

This could therefore have implications for the classification and prevention of prediabetes in the UK.

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Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is commonly known as Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 is commonly known as Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Type 2 diabetes is characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose (a simple sugar). This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time may damage the organs of the body.

From this, it can be understood that for someone with diabetes something that is food for ordinary people can become a sort of metabolic poison. This is why people with diabetes are advised to avoid sources of dietary sugar.

The good news is for very many people with type 2 diabetes this is all they have to do to stay well. If you can keep your blood sugar lower by avoiding dietary sugar it’s likely you will never need long-term medication.

Type 2 diabetes was formerly known as non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset diabetes due to its occurrence mainly in people over 40. However, type 2 diabetes is now becoming more common in young adults, teens and children and accounts for roughly 90% of all diabetes cases worldwide.

Type 2 diabetes statistics

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), more than 371 million people across the globe have diabetes and this figure is predicted to rise to over 550 million by 2030.

Of the total global diabetes rate, 90% are living with type 2 diabetes but it is estimated that up to half of these people are unaware of their condition (undiagnosed diabetes).

In the UK, more than 2.7 million people are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes whilst a further 750,000 people are believed to have the symptoms but are yet to be diagnosed with the disease.

How serious is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a serious medical condition that often requires the use of anti-diabetic medication, or insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control. However the development of type 2 diabetes and its side effects (complications) can be prevented if detected and treated at an early stage.

Following pre-diabetes or metabolic disorder, type 2 diabetes can potentially be avoided through diet and exercise.

What causes type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the hormone insulin is not used effectively by the cells in your body. Insulin is needed for cells to take in glucose (sugar)…

MGH researchers uncover mechanism revealing why aspartame may not promote weight loss

A team of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators has found a possible mechanism explaining why use of the sugar substitute aspartame might not promote weight loss. In their report published online in Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, the researchers show how the aspartame breakdown product phenylalanine interferes with the action of an enzyme previously shown to prevent metabolic syndrome – a group of symptoms associated with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They also showed that mice receiving aspartame in their drinking water gained more weight and developed other symptoms of metabolic syndrome than animals fed similar diets lacking aspartame.

“Sugar substitutes like aspartame are designed to promote weight loss and decrease the incidence of metabolic syndrome, but a number of clinical and epidemiologic studies have suggested that these products don’t work very well and may actually make things worse,” says Richard Hodin, MD, of the MGH Department of Surgery, the study’s senior author. “We found that aspartame blocks a gut enzyme called intestinal alkaline phosphatase (IAP) that we previously showed can prevent obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome; so we think that aspartame might not work because, even as it is substituting for sugar, it blocks the beneficial aspects of IAP.”

In a 2013 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Hodin’s team found that feeding IAP to mice kept on a high-fat diet could prevent the development of metabolic syndrome and reduce symptoms in animals that already had the condition. Phenylalanine is known to inhibit the action of IAP, and the fact that…