Naturally low-carb Caprese salad: non-paleo mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil
Italian researchers found that extra-virgin olive oil taken with meals helps to reduce blood sugar elevations after meals in type 1 diabetics. This may help explain the lower observed incidence of diabetes seen in those eating a traditional Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil.
Before going further into the weeds, remember that glycemic index refers to how high and quickly a particular food elevates blood sugar. High-glycemic index foods raise blood sugar quicker and higher compared to low-glycemic index foods.
The study at hand is a small one: 18 patients. They were given both high- and low-glycemic meals with varying amounts and types of fat. Meals were either low-fat, high in saturated fat (from butter), or high in monounsaturated fat from olive oil. Meals that were high-glycemic index resulted in lower after-meal glucose levels if the meal had high olive oil content, compared to low-fat and butter-rich meals.
If meals were low in glycemic index, blood sugar levels were about the same whether the diet was low-fat, high in saturated fat, or rich in olive oil.
I don’t know if results of this study apply to those with type 2 diabetes. Probably, but uncertain. (google it!)
If you have type 1 diabetes and plan on eating high on the glycemic index scale, reduce your blood sugar excursions by incorporating extra-virgin olive oil into your meals.
Steve Parker, M.D.
PS: No olive trees were killed to produce my book.
Reference: Bozzetto, Luigarda, et al. Extra-virgin olive oil reduces glycemic response to a high-glycemic index meal in patients with type 1 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care, online before print, February 9, 2016. doi: 10.2337/dc15-2189
The protein in this can raise your blood sugar
I’m considering whether I should advise my patients with diabetes to pay careful attention to the protein content of their diet. It’s an important issue to Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, who definitely says it has to be taken into account.
Here are some of Dr. Bernstein’s ideas pulled from the current edition of Diabetes Solution:
- The liver (and the kidneys and intestines to a lesser extent) can convert protein to glucose, although it’s a slow and inefficient process.
- Since the conversion process—called gluconeogenesis—is slow and inefficient, diabetics don’t see the high blood sugar spikes they would see from many ingested carbohydrates.
- For example, 3 ounces (85 g) of hamburger patty could be converted to 6.5 g of glucose under the right circumstances.
- Protein foods from animals (e.g., meat, fish, chicken, eggs) are about 20% protein by weight.
- Dr. B recommends keeping protein portions in a particular meal consistent day-to-day (for example 6 ounces with each lunch).
- He recommends at least 1–1.2 g of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight for non-athletic adults.
- The minimum protein he recommends for a 155-lb non-athletic adult is 11.7–14 ounces daily.
- Growing children and athletes need more protein.
- Each uncooked ounce of the foods on his “protein foods” list (page 181) provides about 6 g of protein.
- On his eating plan, you choose the amount of protein in a meal that would satisfy you, which might be 3 ounces or 6–9 ounces.
- If you have gastroparesis, however, you should limit your evening meal protein to 2 ounces of eggs, cheese, fish, or ground meat, while eating more protein at the two earlier meals in the day.
Dr. Bernstein wrote:
In many respects—and going against the grain of a number of the medical establishment’s accepted notions about diabetics and protein—protein will become the most important part of our diet if you are going to control blood sugars just as it was for our hunter-gatherer ancestors.
I haven’t changed my thinking on this issue yet, but will let you know if and when I do. I don’t talk much about protein in Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes in part because I wanted to keep the program simpler than Dr. Bernstein’s.
As with most aspects of diabetes, your mileage may vary. The effect of dietary protein on blood sugars will depend on type 1 versus type 2 diabetes, and will vary from one person to another. So it may be impossible to set rigid guidelines.
If interested, you can determine how much protein is in various foods at NutritionData.
Steve Parker, M.D.
Posted in Diabetes Complications, Diabetic Diet, Dietary Protein
Tagged blood sugar, Conquer Diabetes and Prediabetes, diabetes, Diabetes Solution, gastroparesis, glucose, protein, protein effect on blood sugar, Richard Bernstein