For anyone with type 2 diabetes, the diet is essential. A new study has found that if patients set a specific goal to eat a specific number of daily servings of low-glycemic foods, they can improve dietary habits. It sure seems like a dietary must for diabetics.
The glycemic index groups foods into categories based on their effect on blood sugar levels. In this study, people stuck to a goal of either six or eight servings a day of low-glycemic foods. These are carbohydrates digested slowly, meaning they are less likely to spike blood-sugar levels than high-glycemic foods.
Participants also ate about 500 fewer daily calories and added vegetables, fruits and nuts and seeds to their diet. It turned out, their confidence about being able to meet the set goal of servings was key to achieving it. Confidence begets commitment — and in the world of healthy eating, that is vital.
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Until now, little research has looked at how setting goals in a clinical setting can improve health. Setting goals that are specific and targeted will motivate action. Here, it was more than a set goal, it was deciding what specific foods you were going to use to achieve a better diet. This and other studies have affirmed that consuming a low-glycemic index diet is beneficial for type 2 diabetics.
The glycemic index is represented by a scale from 1 to 100. Foods that tend to slow the speed of digestion and prevent rapid increases in blood sugar include many vegetables, whole grains, dairy foods, nuts and seeds, beans and fruits. They are considered low-glycemic-index foods if they have an index of 55 or fewer points. Foods with a point value of 100 are the equivalent of pure sugar.
As of now, there aren’t guidelines that exist for diabetics with regard to eating low-glycemic-index foods. Some believe it’s too complicated, more so than simply tracking carbohydrate and sugar levels in food. But if you can, there sure seems to be great reasons to do so.
The study included 35 people 40 to 65 years of age, with type 2 diabetes. With the dietary goals, everyone showed a significant average increase in their total daily servings of low-glycemic-index foods and a significant decrease in calories and overall glycemic index. But not all participants reached the goal. That’s where researchers found that those who felt more committed felt the goal was less difficult.
Based on the results, people can set higher goals for eating low-glycemic foods. In every case, there should be an individual goal, a specific one. An example is to increase your daily intake of these foods by two servings a day. They also found that people should plan to take action rather than to stop doing something. Set a substitution goal, substituting something for regular soda or one low-glycemic food for a high-glycemic food.
This lets you take small, but significant steps toward your ultimate goals, which gives you a sense of achievement. Then you are confident. Then you can do anything.