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Glycemic Index Education Helps Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Study finds improvements in body weight, serum glucose, and insulin sensitivity

TUESDAY, Dec. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Educating people with type 2 diabetes about how to incorporate foods with a lower glycemic index into their diets results in improvements in weight, serum glucose levels, and insulin sensitivity, according to a study in Public Health Nutrition.

Melissa Davis Gutschall, Ph.D., of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, and colleagues recruited 55 diabetes patients (40 to 70 years of age) to participate immediately in a nine-week series of group sessions to educate them on how to incorporate foods with a lower glycemic index into their diets. A second group of 48 patients served as a control group during the first group's intervention and then received the same intervention in a second nine-week course. The researchers took anthropometric, metabolic, physical activity and dietary measures before and after the interventions and in an 18-week follow-up (first group only).

The researchers found that, after participating in the sessions, the initial group improved their mean dietary glycemic index, percentage of energy from total fat, total dietary fiber, mean body mass index, fasting plasma glucose, postprandial glucose, fructosamine, and insulin sensitivity factor compared to the delayed/control group. At 18 weeks, after the delayed group also had the sessions, they had mean decreases in body weight, waist circumference, glucose, fructosamine similar to the immediate group.

"Improvements in outcomes likely require continued behavioral intervention and support to be maintained, especially for a chronic disease such as diabetes. Further research is needed to determine the most effective method and frequency of contact for maintaining behavioral change following a short-term intervention," the authors write.

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