Pinto beans and diabetes

Diabetes Superfoods

Diabetes Superfoods

“Superfood” is a term used by many food and beverage companies as a way to promote a food thought to have health benefits; however, there is no official definition of the word by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA regulates the health claims allowed on food labels to ensure there is scientific research to support the claims. The list of foods below are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that are good for overall health and may also help prevent disease.

Beans

Kidney, pinto, navy, or black beans are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium. They are very high in fiber too.

Beans do contain carbohydrates, but ½ cup also provides as much protein as an ounce of meat without the saturated fat. To save time you can use canned beans, but be sure to drain and rinse them to get rid of as much added salt as possible.

Dark green leafy vegetables

Spinach, collards, and kale are dark green leafy vegetables packed with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, calcium and potassium. These powerhouse foods are low in calories and carbohydrates too. Try adding dark leafy vegetables to salads, soups and stews.

Citrus fruit

Grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes or pick your favorites to get part of your daily dose of fiber, vitamin C, folate and potassium.

Sweet potatoes

A starchy vegetable packed full of vitamin A and fiber. They are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium.

Craving something sweet? Try a sweet potato in place of a regular potato and sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Berries

Which are your favorites: blueberries, strawberries or another variety? Regardless, they are all packed with antioxidants, vitamins and fiber. Berries can be a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth and they provide an added benefit of vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, potassium and fiber.

Tomatoes

The good news is that no matter how you like your tomatoes, pureed, raw, or in a sauce, you’re eating vital nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin E and potassium.

Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3 fats may help to reduce the risk of heart disease and inflammation. Fish high in these healthy fats are sometimes referred to as “fatty fish.” Salmon is well known in this group. Other fish high in omega-3 are herring, sardines, mackerel, trout, and albacore tuna. Choose fish that is broiled, baked or grilled to avoid the carbohydrateand extra calories that would be in fish that is breaded and fried. The American Diabetes Association Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2017 recommends eating fish (mainly fatty fish) twice per week for people with diabetes.

Nuts

An ounce of nuts can go a long way in getting key healthy fats along with helping to manage hunger. In addition, they offer magnesium and fiber. Some nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and flax seeds, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Whole grains

It’s the whole grain you’re after. The first ingredient on the label should have the word “whole” in it. Whole grains are rich in vitamins and minerals like magnesium, B vitamins, chromium, iron and folate. They are a great source of fiber too. Some examples of whole grains are whole oats, quinoa, whole grain barley and farro.

Milk and yogurt

You may have heard that milk and yogurt can help build strong bones and teeth. In addition to calcium, many milk and yogurt products are a fortified to make them a good source of vitamin D. More research is emerging on the connection between vitamin D and good health. Milk and yogurt do contain carbohydrate that will be a factor in meal planning when you have diabetes. Look for yogurt products that are lower in fat and added sugar.

Tips for eating on a budget

Some of the items above can be tough on the budget depending on the season and where you live. Look for lower cost options such as fruit and vegetables in season or frozen or canned fish. Foods that are easier on the budget year ‘round are beans and whole grains that you cook from scratch.

Learn more about how to include these and other healthful foods into your meals. The American Diabetes Association’s book What Do I Eat Now? provides a step-by-step guide to eating right.

The Diabetic’s Guide to Eating Rice

Replace white rice with brown

If White Rice were to be a contestant on “Let’s Get These Blood Sugars Soaring” it would receive a standing ovation.

  1. It has a high score on the Glycemic Index – a list that grades foods according to how much they screw up your blood sugar.
  2. It’s naturally good at helping people develop diabetes.

Each additional servings of white rice a week increases your chance of developing diabetes by 10%. That’s eating more than 4 servings a week, and it’s no laughing matter, considering how common white rice is. Fried rice at the chinese restaurant? White. Favorite cajun dirty rice at the family reunion? White. Mexican rice at your aunt’s house? White. Rice and veggies steamer bag in the frozen food isle? Yup, white again. Not to mention the plethora of rice pastas and gluten free breads that rely on this cheap, processed and refined grain.

Brown rice is actually white rice that has not be stripped of its nutrients and refined. Two of those nutrients are fiber and magnesium – both of which have been shown to regulate blood sugar. Studies have shown that replacing white rice with brown rice even helps reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes.

Eat less rice overall for best blood sugar control

Replacing all white rice with brown rice is a good idea – reduces diabetes risk by 16%. Eating less rice overall is best – replacing rice with other grains reduces diabetes risk by 36%. Did you know a serving of rice is ½ cup? Here are some ways to make that half cup be enough.

Instead of filling your plate with brown rice and sprinkling in some veggies, eat a plateful of veggies sprinkled with ½ cup of brown rice. Want even better control? Adapt a habit from our south of the border friends and serve beans whenever you eat brown rice.

And since 5 servings of rice or more per week put you at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, add variety by replacing some rice with grains that are gentler on your blood sugars – quinoa, buckwheat, and wheat berries.

Add beans and veggies to brown rice for better sugar readings

Here’s the deal. Because brown rice still scores on the high end of the Glycemic Index, it’s best to serve it with foods that 1) are naturally high in fiber and 2) have little effect on your blood sugar. Those two qualifiers describe beans and veggies. Beans are the king of fiber-rich foods, and veggies are your free for all when it comes to blood sugar control. Well, except when it comes to potatoes. Those starchy guys are no bueno if you like being stable. Here’s an example making a typical steak dinner diabetic friendly.

Spend less time cooking rice

Cooking brown rice at home is easiest when done in a rice cooker, but if you’re lacking one of those, Uncle Ben’s has your back. In the rice aisle you can find 10 minute rice bags that are slightly cooked already, so it greatly reduces the time brown rice takes to cook. Seasoned brown rice packs that take 90 seconds to microwave are also plentiful in the rice aisle, however, if you’re mindful of the salt intake, those are not your best choice.

You can also find completely cooked brown rice in the frozen food isle of some grocery stores – including Walmart.

Go on a diabetic friendly recipe hunt

I’m a visual learner, so it helps if I can see a picture of a principle I’m trying to learn. So let’s play a little game.

  1. Open up this Pinterest rice recipes feed, and find a dish that would be a better choice for blood sugar control. Remember, you’re looking for brown rice, with lots of veggies or beans.
  2. Once you find a winner, click on the pin, open up the link, then copy the link.
  3. Paste the link in the comments feed below.

If you have ideas of how to Power Up the dish even more, list them in your comment. If you want more ideas on how to power up the dish, ask and I’ll be happy to give you some suggestions. Happy hunting!

Main points:

  • How much rice? ½ cup serving/day at most. Less than 5 servings/week.
  • Pairings for best control? Add beans and veggies to ½ cup of brown rice.
  • Eat less rice: Replace rice with quinoa, buckwheat, or oats whenever possible.

Want more help? Check out our Eat Down Your Blood Sugar Program.

Bean and rice meals reduce postprandial glycemic response in adults with type 2 diabetes: a cross-over study

  1. 1.

    Leterme P: Recommendations by health organizations for pulse consumption. Br J Nutr. 2002, 88 (Suppl 3): S239-S242.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  2. 2.

    Darmadi-Blackberry I, Wahlqvist ML, Kouris-Blazos A, Steen B: Lukito W, Horie Y, Horie K: Legumes: the most important dietary predictor of survival in older people of different ethnicities. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004, 13 (2): 217-220.

    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  3. 3.

    Bazzano LA, He J, Ogden LG, Loria C, Vupputuri S, Myers L, Whelton PK: Legume consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in US men and women. Arch Intern Med. 2001, 161: 2573-2578. 10.1001/archinte.161.21.2573.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  4. 4.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States, 2011. 2011, Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    • Google Scholar
  5. 5.

    O’Keefe JH, Bell DSH: Postprandial hyperglycemia/hyperlipidemia (postprandial dysmetabolism) is a cardiovascular risk factor. Am J Cardiol. 2007, 100: 899-904. 10.1016/j.amjcard.2007.03.107.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  6. 6.

    Eckel RH, Kahn R, Robertson RM, Rizza RA: Preventing cardiovascular disease and diabetes: A call to action from the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Diabetes Care. 2006, 29: 1697-1699. 10.2337/dc06-9911.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  7. 7.

    Knowler WC, Barrett-Connor E, Fowler SE, Hamman RF, Lachin JM, Walker EQ, Nathan DM: Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: Reduction in the incidence of type 2 diabetes with lifestyle intervention or metformin. N Engl J Med. 2002, 346: 393-403.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  8. 8.

    Herman WH, Hoerger TJ, Brandle M, Hicks K, Sorensen S, Zhang P, Hamman RF, Ackermann RT, Engelgau MM: Ratner RE and the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group: The cost-effectiveness of lifestyle modification or metformin in preventing type 2 diabetes in adults with impaired glucose tolerance. Ann Intern Med. 2005, 142: 323-332.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • PubMed Central
    • Google Scholar
  9. 9.

    Knight KM, Dornant T, Bundy C: The diabetes educator: Trying hard, but must concentrate more on behaviour. Diabet Med. 2006, 23: 485-501. 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2005.01802.x.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  10. 10.

    Vijan S, Stuart NS, Fitzgerald JT, Ronis DL, Hayward RA, Slater S, Hofer TP: Barriers to following dietary recommendation in type 2 diabetes. Diabet Med. 2004, 22: 32-38.

    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  11. 11.

    Caban A, Walker EA, Sanchez S, Mera MS: It feels like home when you eat rice and beans: perspectives of urban Latinos living with diabetes. Diabetes Spectrum. 2008, 21 (2): 120-127. 10.2337/diaspect.21.2.120.

    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  12. 12.

    Rustveld LO, Pavlik VN, Jibaja-Weiss ML, Kline KN, Gossey JT, Volk RJ: Adherence to diabetes self-care behaviors in English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanic Men. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2009, 3: 123-130.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • PubMed Central
    • Google Scholar
  13. 13.

    Wen LK, Parchman ML, Shepherd MD: Family support and diet barriers among older Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes. Fam Med. 2004, 36: 423-430.

    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  14. 14.

    McCloskey J, Flenniken D: Overcoming cultural barriers to diabetes control: a qualitative study of southwestern New Mexico Hispanics. J Cult Divers. 2010, 17: 110-115.

    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  15. 15.

    Two Feathers J, Kieffer ED, Palmidano G, Anderson M, Soinco B, Janz N, Heisler M, Spencer M, Guzman R, Thompson J, Wisdom K, James SA: Racial and ethnic approaches to community health (REACH) Detroit partnership: improving diabetes-related outcomes among African Americans and Latino Adults. Am J Public Health. 2005, 95: 1552-1560. 10.2105/AJPH.2005.066134.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • PubMed Central
    • Google Scholar
  16. 16.

    de Groot M, Welch G, Buckland GT, Fergus M, Ruggiero L, Chipkin SR: Cultural orientation and diabetes self-care in low-income African Americans with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Ethn Dis. 2003, 13: 6-14.

    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  17. 17.

    Sievenpiper JL, Kendall CWC, Esfahani A, Wong JMW, Carleton AJ, Jiang HY, Bazinet RP, Vidgen E, Jenkins DJA: Effect of non-oil-seed pulses on glycaemic control: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled experimental trials in people with and without diabetes. Diabetologia. 2009, 52: 1479-1495. 10.1007/s00125-009-1395-7.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  18. 18.

    Brand-Miller J, Hayne S, Petocz P, Colagiuri S: Low-glycemic index diets in the management of diabetes: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Diabetes Care. 2003, 26: 2261-2267. 10.2337/diacare.26.8.2261.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  19. 19.

    Bornet FRJ, Costagliola D, Rizkalla SW, Blayo A, Fontvieille AM, Haardt MJ, Letanoux M, Tchobroutsky G, Slama G: Insulinemic and glycemic indexes of six starch-rich foods taken alone and in a mixed meal by type 2 diabetics. Am J Clin Nutr. 1987, 45: 588-595.

    • CAS
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  20. 20.

    Sugiyama M, Tang AC, Wakaki Y, Koyama W: Glycemic index of single and mixed meal foods among common Japanese foods with white rice as a reference food. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003, 57: 743-752. 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601606.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  21. 21.

    Ceriello A, Esposito K, Piconi L, Ihnat MA, Thorpe JE, Testa R, Boemi M, Giugliano D: Oscillating glucose is more deleterious to endothelial function and oxidative stress than mean glucose in normal and type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetes. 2008, 57: 1349-1354. 10.2337/db08-0063.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  22. 22.

    Sun Q, Spiegelman D, van Dam RM, Holmes MD, Malik VS, Willett WC, Hu FB: White rice, brown rice, and risk of type 2 diabetes in US men and women. Arch Intern Med. 2010, 170: 961-969. 10.1001/archinternmed.2010.109.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • PubMed Central
    • Google Scholar
  23. 23.

    Winham DM, Hutchins AM, Melde CL: Pinto bean, navy bean, and black-eyed pea consumption do not significantly lower the glycemic response to a high glycemic index treatment in normoglycemic adults. Nutr Res. 2007, 27: 535-541. 10.1016/j.nutres.2007.07.002.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  24. 24.

    Jimenez-Cruz A, Bacardi-Gascón M, Turnbull WH, Rosales-Garay P, Severino-Lugo I: A flexible, low-glycemic index Mexican-style diet in overweight and obese subjects with type 2 diabetes improves metabolic parameters during a 6-week treatment period. Diabetes Care. 2003, 26: 1967-1970. 10.2337/diacare.26.7.1967.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  25. 25.

    Venn BJ, Mann JI: Cereal grains, legumes and diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004, 58: 1443-1461. 10.1038/sj.ejcn.1601995.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  26. 26.

    Brand-Miller J, Foster-Powell K: Diets with a low glycemic index: from theory to practice. Nutrition Today. 1999, 34 (2): 64-72. 10.1097/00017285-199903000-00002.

    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  27. 27.

    Foster-Powell K, Holt SHA, Brand-Miller JC: International table of glycemic index load values: 2002. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002, 76 (1): 5-56.

    • CAS
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  28. 28.

    Schakel S, Schauer R, Himes J, Harnack L, Van Heel N: Development of a glycemic index database for dietary assessment. J Food Compost Anal. 2008, 21: S50-S55.

    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  29. 29.

    Asp NGL: Classification and methodology of food carbohydrates as related to nutritional effects. Am J Clin Nutr. 1995, 61 (Suppl): 930S-937S.

    • CAS
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  30. 30.

    Josse AR, Kendall CWC, Augustin LSA, Ellis PR, Jenkins DJA: Almonds and postprandial glycemia – a dose–response study. Metabolism. 2007, 56: 400-404. 10.1016/j.metabol.2006.10.024.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  31. 31.

    Panlasigui LN, Panlilio LM, Madrid JC: Glycaemic response in normal subjects to five different legumes commonly used in the Philippines. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 1995, 46: 155-160. 10.3109/09637489509012544.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  32. 32.

    Sheng Duh M, Lefebvre P, Fastenau J, Tak Piech C, Waltzman RJ: Assessing the clinical benefits of erythropoietic agents using area under the hemoglobin change curve. Oncologist. 2005, 10: 438-448. 10.1634/theoncologist.10-6-438.

    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  33. 33.

    Cohen J: Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 1988, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2

    • Google Scholar
  34. 34.

    Ceriello A, Colagiuri S, Gerich J, Tuomilehto J: Guideline for management of postmeal glucose. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2008, 18 (4): S17-S33. 10.1016/j.numecd.2008.01.012.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  35. 35.

    Mattei J, Hu FB, Campos H: A higher ratio of beans to white rice is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk factors in Costa Rican adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011, 94: 869-876. 10.3945/ajcn.111.013219.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • PubMed Central
    • Google Scholar
  36. 36.

    Desrochers N, Brauer PM: Legume promotion in counseling: An e-mail survey of dietitians. Can J Diet Prac Res. 2001, 62: 193-198.

    • CAS
    • Google Scholar
  37. 37.

    American Diabetes Association: Nutrition recommendations and interventions for diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2008, 31: S61-S78.

    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  38. 38.

    Wolever TMS, Yank M, Zeng XY, Atkinson F, Brand-Miller JC: Food glycemic index, as given by the Glycemic Index tables, is a significant determinant of glycemic responses elicited by composite breakfast meals. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006, 83: 1306-1312.

    • CAS
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  39. 39.

    Ospina MT: Master of Science Thesis. Determination of dietary fiber, and total and indigestible starch and protein in a selected sample of dry bean ( Phaseolus vulgaris L.) genotypes. 2000, Michigan State University, Nutrition Department

    • Google Scholar
  40. 40.

    Bednar GE, Patil AR, Murray SM, Grieshop CM, Merche NR, Fahey GC: Starch and fiber fractions in selected food and feed ingredients affect their small intestinal digestibility and fermentability and their large bowel fermentability in vitro in a canine model. J Nutr. 2001, 131: 276-286.

    • CAS
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  41. 41.

    Helmstädter A: Beans and diabetes:Phaseolus vulgarispreparations as antihyperglycemic agents. J Med Food. 2010, 13: 251-254. 10.1089/jmf.2009.0002.

    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  42. 42.

    Kalogeropoulos N, Chiou A, Ioannou M, Karathanos VT, Hassapidou M: Nutritional evaluation and bioactive microconstituents (phytosterols, tocopherols, polyphenols, triterpenic acids) in cooked dry legumes usually consumed in Mediterranean countries. Food Chem. 2010, 121: 682-690. 10.1016/j.foodchem.2010.01.005.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • Google Scholar
  43. 43.

    Halvorsen BL, Holte K, Myhrstad MCW, Barikmo I, Hvattum E, Remberg SF, Wold A, Haffner K, Baugerod H, Anderson LF, Moskaug JO, Jacobs DR, Blomhoff R: A systematic screening of total antioxidants in dietary plants. J Nutr. 2002, 132: 461-471.

    • CAS
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar
  44. 44.

    Curry K: Multicultural competence in dietetics and nutrition. J Am Diet Assoc. 2000, 100 (10): 1142-1143. 10.1016/S0002-8223(00)00335-7.

    • CAS
    • Article
    • PubMed
    • Google Scholar

Dietary habits and patterns that promote excess glucose (sugar) in the blood (hyperglycemia), excess insulin in the blood (hyperinsulinemia), and excess body fat also increase the risk for several chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

How much a food or meal raises blood sugar depends on the glycemic index of the food consumed and the amount of carbohydrate in the food or meal. Here are some definitions that can provide more clarity:

  • Glycemic Index is a ratio of how much blood sugar rises after consuming a standard amount of available carbohydrate compared to a control (usually glucose or white bread).
  • Glycemic Load is calculated by multiplying the glycemic index of a food by the quantity of available carbohydrate eaten in grams.
  • Glycemic Load of a Meal is computed by summing the glycemic loads of all foods consumed.

A lot of research has been devoted to studying the impact of consuming foods with a low glycemic index compared to high glycemic index foods.

Livesey et al (2008) used meta-analysis and meta-regression to examine data from 45 prospective studies to determine the outcome of substituting low glycemic food for high glycemic foods, as well as the impact of glycemic index and glycemic load on fasting blood sugar and insulin, blood sugar control, and body weight. The following paragraphs provide detailed information on what these researchers discovered.

Blood glucose

Data was analyzed from 36 studies in the meta-analysis and showed that eating a diet with a low glycemic index significantly reduces fasting blood sugar in proportion to the reduction in glycemic index. Almost all low glycemic index foods are good sources of fiber, and therefore, as the glycemic index of the diet was reduced, the amount of fiber was increased. It was determined that both a reduction in glycemic load as well as an increase in fiber was important in reducing fasting blood glucose. A reduced glycemic load can be achieved by simply reducing the amount of carbohydrate-containing foods that are consumed, and/or by including low glycemic index foods and increasing fiber. It was determined that a reduction in fasting blood glucose was better achieved by including more low glycemic index foods (like beans), rather than decreasing glycemic load by reducing carbohydrate intake.

Blood concentrations of glycated proteins (fructosamine and HbA1c) reflect overall blood sugar control. Fifteen of the 36 studies provided information about fructosamine and/or HbA1c concentrations. These studies showed that overall control of blood glucose is strongly related to the glycemic index and glycemic load of the diet and the amount of fiber consumed. It was suggested that optimum control of blood glucose is achieved when the diet has a glycemic index < 45, a glycemic load < 100g per day and a fiber intake of ≥ 25g per day.

Insulin

The amount of insulin required to promote glucose uptake by tissues (insulin sensitivity) is an important aspect of blood glucose control. Eighteen of the 45 studies reported measurements of insulin sensitivity. There was an average of 20% improvement in insulin sensitivity for the 18 studies when low glycemic index foods were substituted for high glycemic index foods. A reduction in insulin concentrations in fasting blood samples by switching from a high to a low glycemic index diet was found only when subjects had hyperinsulinemia (higher than normal insulin levels circulating in the blood). People without diabetes improved their insulin sensitivity by 25% and individuals with type-2 diabetes improved their insulin sensitivity by 12%. Normal weight individuals did not achieve a significant improvement in insulin sensitivity while overweight and obese individuals had a 14% improvement in insulin sensitivity.

Taken together, people with Type 2 diabetes (but not those with Type 1 diabetes) can expect an improvement in insulin sensitivity by switching from a high glycemic index diet to a low glycemic index diet.

Body Weight

The percentage of overweight and obese individuals in the United States has been steadily increasing. Today, more than 67% of the adult population is either overweight or obese (NIH, NHANES 2009-2010). Obesity and overweight account for more than 300,000 deaths per year in North America (McGinnis, 1993; Allison, 1999), and the medical costs associated with excess body fat is estimated to be greater than $147 billion per year (CDC). Most of the costs associated with excess body fat are related to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure (Wolf & Colditz, 1998).

Twenty-three studies examined changes in body weight that occurred when subjects changed from a high to a low glycemic index diet. It goes without saying that a reduction in body weight can occur only if there is a reduction in energy intake. On the average, the glycemic load needed to be decreased by 17g/day before weight loss would occur. Consistent weight loss was not reported until the glycemic load was reduced by >42g/day. If a reduction in glycemic load by substituting low glycemic index foods for high glycemic index foods resulted in less available carbohydrate (therefore a lower energy intake), weight loss occurred. The only significant factor related to weight loss was a reduced glycemic load and caloric intake; changes in fat, protein, and fiber intake that occur by substituting low glycemic index foods for high glycemic index foods could not explain the weight loss.

Clearly, if bean consumption could be increased and if there was a related decrease in body weight, the public health benefit would be enormous. Since increasing bean consumption would not increase the cost of the diet, it is hard to imagine a more cost effective intervention.

Beans, glycemic index, and glycemic load

The study by Livesey (2008) provides very strong evidence that eating diets with a low glycemic index (< 45), a low glycemic load (<100 g equivalents per day), and more than 25g per day of fiber will help normalize blood glucose, blood insulin, and body weight. Controlling blood glucose, blood insulin, and body weight in turn will reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as certain types of cancer.

Beans are the perfect food to improve glycemic control. Beans have a low glycemic index, varying from 27-42% relative to glucose and 40-59% that of white bread (Table 1). Beans are also high in non-starch polysaccharides (typically 18-20%), 5% resistant starch, and 4% oligosaccharides to give a dietary fiber value of 27 – 29%. Consuming beans may significantly increase dietary fiber intake, and that is particularly important for blood sugar control.

Table 1: Glycemic Indices of Various Beans (Foster-Powel, 1995)
GI (White Bread) GI (Glucose)
Pinto beans 55 39
Kidney beans 39 28
Baked beans, canned 57 40
Dried beans 40 29
Black-eyed peas 59 42
Butter beans 44 31
Chick peas 47 33
*Calculated glycemic index when white bread or glucose were used as a reference food. Expressed as a percentage of the reference food.

Allison DB, Fontaine KR, Manson JE, Stevens J, VanItallie TB. Annual deaths attributable to obesity in the United States. Jama-Journal Of The American Medical Association. 1999;282(16):1530-1538.

Livesey G, Taylor R, Hulshof T, Howlett J. Glycemic response and health – a systematic review and meta- analysis: relations between dietary glycemic properties and health outcomes. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;87(1):258S-268S.

Ogden CL, Yanovski SZ, Carroll MD, Flegal KM. The epidemiology of obesity. Gastroenterology. 2007;132(6):2087-2102.

Wolf AM. Impact of obesity on healthcare delivery costs. American Journal Of Managed Care. 1998;4(3):S141-S145.

Wolf AM, Colditz GA. Current estimates of the economic cost of obesity in the United States. Obesity Research. 1998;6(2):97-106.

They’re foods with big health benefits, yet they’re often neglected, relegated to the back of the kitchen cupboard. Legumes – chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, navy beans, lentils – help regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and guard against heart attack and cancer.

Now, a new study in the August issue of Diabetologia adds to the growing evidence that beans are good for you, especially if you have diabetes. It seems that adding beans to your diet can improve blood glucose control.

More than two million Canadians have diabetes, a number that’s expected to rise to three million by the end of 2010. What’s more, the incidence of impaired fasting glucose, or pre-diabetes, is also on the rise. (People with impaired fasting glucose have a higher blood sugar level after an eight-to-12-hour fast than is normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Story continues below advertisement









For people who have diabetes, controlling blood glucose is paramount in preventing long-term complications such as heart disease, nerve damage and kidney disease. For people with pre-diabetes, managing blood glucose levels can prevent a future diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

Diet is a key to blood sugar management, whether a person is taking diabetes medication or not. When added to a high-fibre diet or a low-glycemic diet (one with complex carbohydrates that allow the slow release of sugar into the bloodstream), legumes have been found to lower fasting blood glucose and insulin readings.

Research even suggests that eating legumes can substantially reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

In the new study, researchers from the Risk Factor Modification Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto analyzed the results of 41 randomized controlled experimental trials to assess the evidence that beans benefit blood sugar control.

The trials were conducted in a total of 1,674 people with and without diabetes. The review included studies measuring blood glucose control when legumes were eaten alone, when added to a high-fibre diet, or when part of a low-glycemic diet.

When eaten on their own or part of a high-fibre or low-glycemic diet, legumes lowered fasting glucose and insulin levels. Legumes were also found to improve glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c), a marker for longer-term blood sugar control. (The HbA1c blood test provides an average of blood glucose measurements over the past six to 12 weeks.) In fact, when legumes were eaten as part of a high-fibre or low-glycemic diet, the significant reduction in HbA1c seen in people with Type 2 diabetes was comparable to that achieved by oral medications.

The blood-glucose-lowering effect of legumes was strongest for chickpeas. But benefit was also seen with black beans, pinto beans and red and white kidney beans. And it didn’t take a large portion to see improvement in blood sugar control. Eating only ahalf cup (125 ml) lowered fasting glucose and insulin levels.

Story continues below advertisement

Legumes are an excellent source of fibre and vegetable protein, and contain slowly absorbed carbohydrate. With their low glycemic index, legumes slow the rise in blood sugar after a meal, fending off an outpouring of insulin.

Legumes are also a good source of many phytochemicals, some of which may aid in blood sugar control. Most beans are also chock full of folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron.

The health benefits of legumes go beyond diabetes control. Studies have revealed that eating legumes can help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduce elevated blood pressure, and may even cut the risk of prostate and breast cancers.

It’s a wonder, then, why legumes are so often neglected in our typical Western diet. Many of my private-practice clients tell me it’s not because they dislike legumes. Instead, they don’t know how to incorporate them into their diet, aside from making chili or opening a can of baked beans.

Legumes are one of the most versatile, nutritious and inexpensive foods available. You can buy legumes dried or already cooked in the can. If you buy them dried, you need to cook and soak them first. To save time, use the quick-soak method. Place washed beans in a large pot with three times the volume of cool water. Bring beans and water to a boil for two minutes, then remove from the heat. Cover and let stand for one hour, then drain and rinse in a colander.

If you prefer the convenience of canned legumes, you’ll only have to drain them in a colander and rinse under cool running water to remove sodium and many of the carbohydrates that produce intestinal gas..

Story continues below advertisement

While beans don’t always cause gas, some people are more sensitive to this potential side effect. If you’re new to legumes, start slowly and gradually increase your portion size over a few weeks to give your gut time to adjust. If that fails, try Beano, a digestive enzyme supplement available in drug stores that breaks down the gas-causing sugars.

Health Canada advises eating beans and lentils in place of meat to reduce saturate fat and increase fibre. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends adding legumes to your diet to help lower the glycemic index and increase the fibre content of your diet.

The following quick tips will help you add legumes to your meals on a regular basis:

Toss cooked legumes into leafy green and pasta salads.

Add chickpeas to your favourite Greek salad recipe for a boost of protein and fibre.

Serve soup made from dried beans or lentils. Try minestrone, split pea, black bean or lentil soup.

Story continues below advertisement

Make a mixed bean salad by combining red and white kidney beans with black beans.

Add cooked legumes to homemade or store-bought soups and stews.

Spread sandwiches with hummus, instead of butter or mayonnaise, before filling.

Add cooked chickpeas to grain dishes such as couscous or rice pilafs.

Add black beans to tacos and burritos. Use half the amount of lean ground meat you normally would and make up the difference with beans.

Add white kidney beans to a tomato-based pasta sauce for a Mediterranean-inspired meal.

Story continues below advertisement

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based dietitian at the Medcan Clinic, is on CTV’s Canada AM every Wednesday. Her website is lesliebeck.com.

Q. I noticed that black beans are high in carbohydrates and was wondering whether they were safe for a diabetic to consume. Also, where can I buy high quality black beans?

A. Beans, including black beans, do contain carbohydrates, but they also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber, protein, and other nutrients that result in a relatively low glycemic index rating. Foods with low glycemic index values are better choices for stabilizing blood sugar than foods with high glycemic index values, and most healthcare practitioners would support the inclusion of low glycemic index foods in the meal plan of a person with diabetes. Relatively high glycemic index foods have ratings above 50, and often between 75-100. Most beans have glycemic index values in the 20-50 range. As you can see, that places them on the bottom half of the glycemic index rating system. For more information on glycemic index see our article on that subject. Should you have specific questions as to whether black beans are supportive of your individual health, we suggest that you ask your healthcare practitioner.

It’s fairly easy to find uncooked, dry black beans at most supermarkets. However, unless those beans carry a certified organic label, you cannot be sure that you are getting the highest quality beans. Usually, my favorite place to find high quality black beans is at a natural foods grocery or health food store. That’s because these stores often carry organic products.

For more information on this topic see:

  • Black beans
  • Dietary fiber
  • Protein
  • What is the glycemic index?

Diabetes is becoming more common across the world as the overweight and obesity epidemic continues. Eating a variety of legumes, including beans, as part of a healthful diet may be valuable not only in the prevention but also management of diabetes.

Beans are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and protein, which gives them a low glycemic index. This makes them an ideal food for the management of insulin resistance and diabetes. Beans also provide protein that is low in fat and saturated fat as well as important vitamins and minerals in the diet. Numerous studies show that consuming a low glycemic index diet may be protective against developing diabetes, while consuming a high glycemic index/load may increase the risk. Beans are an important food for individuals striving to manage blood sugars.

In the Health Professionals Study and Nurses Health Study, a 37-40% increase in Type 2 diabetes was found in individuals with the highest glycemic intake compared to those having the lowest glycemic index intake. (Salmeron & Ascherio, 1997; Salmeron & Manson, 1997) In a cohort from the Nurses Health study II, an increased risk of diabetes was also found in young and middle aged women when comparing highest vs. lowest quintiles for glycemic index. (Schulze, 2004)

Krishnan et al (2007) examined differences in glycemic indices and risk of type-2 diabetes with a group of US black women. After 8 years of follow-up, they found a positive association for diabetes in women consuming higher glycemic index diets, which was surprisingly stronger in normal weight women with a BMI <25. In a study of older Australians, researchers reported an increased risk of type-2 diabetes in women < 70 years of age consuming higher glycemic index carbohydrates (Barclay, 2006). Lastly, in a cohort of middle-aged Chinese women, individuals in the highest quintile for glycemic index and glycemic load and with a BMI > 25 had an increased risk of type-2 diabetes.

Two epidemiologic studies have looked at the relationship between legume intake and risk of type-2 diabetes. A study of middle-aged Chinese women reported a 38% reduced risk in the incidence of type-2 diabetes for women in the highest quintile (65 g/day) of total legume intake (soybeans, peanuts, and other legumes) compared to those in the lowest quintile (12.3 g/day) (Villegas, 2008).

The ability of low glycemic index carbohydrates to decrease risk of type-2 diabetes may be related to lower post-prandial (post meal) release of glucose and insulin coupled to improvements in insulin sensitivity. (Willett, 2002) High glycemic index foods are known to cause rapid rises in blood glucose and insulin following a meal. Chronic consumption of high glycemic load diets may in turn lead to down-regulation or desensitization of receptors for insulin, eventually contributing to insulin resistance. (Augustin, 2002) The body initially adjusts to higher circulating glucose by increasing insulin secretion from the pancreas. However, in susceptible individuals over time, insulin resistance combined with exhaustion of insulin producing cells will eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes. (Augustin, 2002; Ludwig, 2002)

An important area of research in the field of diabetes is looking at the effect that certain foods have on blood sugars after a meal (postprandial). More than 30 published postprandial studies have compared dry beans or other pulse products to carbohydrate controls like potatoes, rice, white bread, pasta, grains, and glucose. The majority of these studies (~83%) found significant reductions in postprandial peak glucose or area under the curve (AUC) compared to the control.

A meta-analysis of randomized controlled longer term experimental trials found that when eaten on their own, pulses including cooked dry beans significantly lowered fasting blood glucose and insulin levels. In studies where treatments were bean-containing high-fiber or low-glycemic diets, glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) was significantly lowered. In fact, the reduction in HbA1c seen in people with Type 2 diabetes (~0.48%) was comparable to that achieved by oral medications. (Sievenpipe, 2009)

Dry bean consumption also has been shown to have beneficial effects on risk factors for diabetes (including reducing total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and increasing HDL-cholesterol) and has been associated with decreased body weight (Anderson, 2002). Important dietary behaviors, including regular consumption of low glycemic index foods like beans, may be beneficial in the prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes.

Schulze MB, Liu SM, Rimm EB, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Glycemic index, glycemic load, and dietary fiber intake and incidence of Type 2 diabetes in younger and middle-aged women. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;80(2):348-356.

Krishnan S, Rosenberg L, Singer M, et al. Glycemie index, glycemie load, and cereal fiber intake and risk of Type 2 diabetes in US black women. Archives Of Internal Medicine. 2007;167(21):2304-2309.

Barclay AW, Brand-Miller JC, Mitchell P. Macronutrient intake, glycaemic index and glycaemic load of older Australian subjects with and without diabetes: baseline data from the Blue Mountains Eye Study. British Journal Of Nutrition. 2006;96(1):117-123.

Villegas R, Gao YT, Yang G, et al. Legume and soy food intake and the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in the Shanghai Women’s Health Study. American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;87(1):162-167.

Ludwig DDS. The glycemic index – Physiological mechanisms relating to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Jama-Journal of the American Medical Association. 2002;287(18):2414-2423.

WORKS REFERENCED

Pathak, P., Srivastava, S., & Grover, S. (2000). Development of food products based on millets, legumes and fenugreek seeds and their suitability in the diabetic diet. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 51, 409-414.

O’Dea, K., & Wong, S. (1983). The rate of starch hydrolysis in vitro does not predict the metabolic responses to legumes in vivo. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 38, 382-387.

Torsdottir, I., Alpsten, M., & Andersson, H. (1986). Effect of different starchy foods in composite meals on gastric emptying rate and glucose metabolism. II. Comparisons between potatoes, rice and white beans in diabetic subjects. Human Nutrition. Clinical Nutrition, 40, 397-400.

Traianedes, K., & O’Dea, K. (19866). Commercial canning increases the digestibility of beans in vitro and postprandial metabolic responses to them in vivo. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 44, 390-397.

American Diabetes Association. Retrieved from www.diabetes.org

How to Eat Rice and Beans When You Have Diabetes

Unfortunately, Hispanics are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population. If you’re Hispanic like I am, you probably love your rice, beans, and guacamole. Having diabetes doesn’t mean you have to give them up. Written by Marina Chaparro, RD, CDE, MPH 4

Being Hispanic increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes but it doesn’t mean you have to give up loving beans and rice.

Chances are if your Abuelo had diabetes, you are at higher risk of developing diabetes in your lifetime.The reason is not just because you’re related, but rather because you could share similar habits that are sabotaging your health.

We’ve all heard type 2 diabetes runs in the families.In fact, Hispanics are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, compared to the general population. But diabetes is also influenced by our environment and lifestyle choices. We can’t change our culture, race, age or gender, but we can certainly change our habits.

According to the Census Bureau, Hispanics are the fastest growing minority in the US comprising over 17% the population. By 2060, Hispanics will reach 119 million residents in the US, making 28% of the US population. Despite this growth in numbers, Hispanic health outcomes don’t seem as promising. Hispanics are not only likely to have diabetes but are 50% more likely to die from diabetes compared to whites. Moreover, the rates of kidney failure among Hispanics are one a half times higher than the general population. We know the causes of type 2 diabetes are multifactorial. Genetics and hereditary play an important part, but so does our environment. Aka, our food choices, exercise routines, family dynamics, and even health perceptions.

Some of the well-known risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Overweight
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • History of gestational diabetes

Culture is so ingrained in who we are, what we eat, and how we perceive our world around us. Latinos, for example, “love to have family meals” says Lorena Drago, CDE, a certified diabetes educator specializing in multicultural education author of Cultural Food Practices. “Part of this interaction involves large portion sizes in family gatherings or the family pressure to “clean your plate” at each meal.” But you don’t need to sacrifice your cultural traditions or favorite family dishes. Instead, you need to develop healthy habits and be aware of your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Below are simple strategies you and your familia can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Double up on the beans and guacamole—Contrary to what many people believe, traditional Hispanic food can be very healthy. Many varieties of legumes, fruits and vegetables are commonly found in conventional Hispanic dishes. Beans, for example, are loaded with fiber and are low glycemic which means will have a slow impact on blood sugars. Avocado, a stable in Hispanic dishes is also a great option because it is high in healthy fats, known to help improve heart health and satiety. Note: portion sizes matter. To be sure you don’t overdo it, limit guacamole consumption to 1/4 cup and don’t eat more than 2/3 cup beans.

  • Know your risk—Many Hispanics are unaware they have pre-diabetes. It’s estimated that one-third of people with diabetes, don’t know they have it. Drago recommends testing blood sugar level and hemoglobin A1C (average blood glucose over the past 2-3 months) to screen for pre-diabetes or diabetes. “Take an inventory of your diet and make healthy adoptions,” says Drago.
  • Make healthy substitutions—Hispanics have one of the highest consumption rates of sweetened beverages in the US, especially Hispanic youth. Drago recommends swapping sweetened for unsweetened drinks such as water, seltzer, flavored waters, and teas. Which will result in fewer calories and added sugars. Another strategy is to add veggies to traditional dishes like soups, rice, and stews. This is a great way to add fiber and decrease total fat and calories.
  • Dance it off—Exercise should not feel forced or a sort of punishment. Find an activity that you enjoy, like dancing, and do it for short bursts of time. Research shows that a 5% in weight reduction could significantly reduce your risk of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.

There are some things in life we can’t change, as our family and genes. If you are one of the 56 million Hispanics in the US, know that you are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But you still have the power to prevent it. As they say, knowledge is power. You can still enjoy your favorite foods and Hispanic traditions without sacrificing your health. Just remember to do what abuela said and eat your veggies.

Continue Reading Loving Legumes: 12 Delicious Ways to Add Beans to Your Diet

Diabetes Diet: Manage Your Sugar Levels With Your Much-Loved Rajma

If you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes, then you know that it is the time when you have to make some significant changes in your lifestyle, which include maintaining a healthy weight, morning walks, yoga sessions, and paying close attention to your diet and caloric intake. It becomes imperative to keep your blood glucose level in control, and monitor your blood sugar and medicines regularly. This would also mean that you have to lay off most of your favourite foods, especially desserts and oil-laden foods (read: parantha, kebabs and puris). However, did you know that your beloved rajma can help manage your diabetes? Yes, this is for real! Eating kidney beans can keep your blood sugar levels in check. Rajma, or kidney beans, are a winning combination of high-quality carbohydrates, lean protein and soluble fibre, which helps stabilise blood sugar levels and keeps hunger in check.

Here’s How Rajma May Help Manage Your Diabetes

It Comes With Good Quality Carbohydrates

Rajma, or kidney beans, come with a significant amount of carbohydrates in the form of starch (61.29 grams per 100 grams, as per USDA). Starch is made up of long chains of glucose, called amylose and amylopectin. Kidney beans have a high proportion of amylose, which is not as digestible as amylopectin (also known as slow carbs). Starch in kidney beans takes longer to digest and causes lower rise in blood sugar than other types of starch, making kidney beans particularly beneficial for people with diabetes. The glycaemic index of kidney beans is in the low range, which has minimal effects on our blood glucose.

(Also Read: Kidney Bean Benefits: 6 Incredible Reasons To Add Them To Your Diet Today)

Rajma come with a significant amount of carbohydrates in the form of starch.

Packed With Dietary Fibre

Kidney beans are power-packed with dietary fibre, with 15.2 grams in a 100-gram serving as per the USDA. We all know that dietary fibre plays an important part in our diet, especially for diabetics. It lowers our blood cholesterol level by binding the fat in the intestines, leading to its excretion in stool. According to the book, ‘Healing Foods’, by DK Publishing, “Kidney beans contain both soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre can help lower “unhealthy” (LDL) cholesterol; whereas, insoluble fibre helps promote good digestive health and bowel regularity.”

Contains Lean Protein

Kidney beans are nearly a fat-free source of dietary protein, with approximately 15 g per 1-cup serving. Other protein-rich foods, such as red meat, whole-milk dairy products and eggs, contain cholesterol and saturated fat, which are bad for your heart. Substituting animal-derived protein with kidney beans in some of your meals could be a heart-healthy choice.

(Also Read: Here’s Why You Should Add More Beans To Your Diet)

Kidney beans are nearly a fat-free source of dietary protein.

Rich In Potassium

Kidney beans contain a substantial amount of potassium, offering 1359 mg per 100 grams serving, as per the USDA. Our body uses the mineral potassium for many functions. Insufficient dietary potassium may increase the risk of high blood pressure, which can be dangerous for diabetics. Therefore, it’s important to include kidney beans to keep blood pressure under control.

Kidney beans are a good source of several vitamins and minerals, including molybdenum, folate, iron, copper, manganese, potassium, vitamin K1 and phosphorus. Other than being nutritious and fat-free, kidney beans are quite versatile as well. Just toss them in your salads, soups or pair them with whole-grain rice.

About Shubham BhatnagarYou can often find Shubham at a small authentic Chinese or Italian restaurant sampling exotic foods and sipping a glass of wine, but he will wolf down a plate of piping hot samosas with equal gusto. However, his love for homemade food trumps all.

Beans may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes

Published: January, 2013

A cup of beans or lentils each day, when combined with a low-glycemic diet, helped lower blood sugar levels and coronary artery disease risk in patients with type 2 diabetes. Those are the findings in a study published online Oct. 22, 2012, in Archives of Internal Medicine. Legumes, because they pack a lot of protein, help dampen the blood sugar response, and lower blood pressure. And as a good source of fiber, beans can help lower cholesterol, too. Researchers found that after just three months on the “bean diet,” the patients’ hemoglobin A1c levels (which reflect blood sugar level over a period of several weeks) had dropped half a percentage point.

To continue reading this article, you must login.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor’s visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online “

Eating healthy, balanced meals is the key to managing your diabetes. Good nutrition not only helps you control your blood sugar levels, but it also lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol and keeps cravings at bay.

When you have the right foods on hand, it’s much easier to stick to a healthy meal plan. Not sure what to stock? Add these must-haves to your shopping list.

Beans

“Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans are all great for blood glucose control,” says Jessica Bennett, a dietitian at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “They’re high in fiber and take a long time to digest.”

Beans offer a lot of options. They make a tasty side dish, or you can add them to salads, soups, casseroles, and chili. They’re also a great stand-in for meat because they’re high in protein but low in fat.

Dried beans are a better choice than canned. They contain less sodium. Soak them overnight and they’ll be ready to cook in the morning. If you go for the ones in a can, rinse them first. That’ll keep the salt down.

Salt-Free Seasonings
Spices are a great way to jazz up your meals without adding calories or carbs. Just be sure to avoid ones with salt.

“Red pepper flakes, oregano, curry, cinnamon, turmeric, and garlic powder are all great options,” Bennett says.

Whole Grains

They’re packed with fiber, but finding them isn’t as easy as it may seem. Some foods only contain a small amount, even though it says “contains whole grain” on the package. Read the ingredients label and look for the following sources to be listed first:

  • Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • Whole wheat flour
  • Whole oats/oatmeal
  • Whole-grain corn or cornmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Brown rice
  • Whole rye
  • Whole-grain barley
  • Whole farro
  • Wild rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Buckwheat flour
  • Quinoa

Bennett suggests the following ways to get more whole grain into your meal plan:

  • Bake with whole wheat flour instead of white.
  • Start the day with a half-cup of high-fiber bran cereal. “Choose one with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving and less than 6 grams of sugar.”
  • Use whole wheat pasta.
  • Make a sandwich on whole-grain bread.
  • Try recipes that use less-common whole grains like barley or bulgur.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *