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Eat this common food to lower type 2 diabetes risk, study says

Looking for a way to lower your blood glucose levels? One plant may be able to help, according to a new report.

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Researchers from the University of Guelph in Canada recently conducted a small study, published in the Journal of Nutrition, to determine the association between lentils, a type of pulse, and reduced blood glucose levels. High blood glucose levels can lead to Type 2 diabetes. 

To do so, they examined 24 healthy adults, who were fed four dishes: white rice only, half white rice and half large green lentils, half white rice and half small green lentils, and half white rice and half split red lentils.

The analysts measured the subjects’ blood glucose levels before they ate and two hours afterward. They then repeated the same experiment this time using white potatoes alone and the same combination of potatoes and lentils.

“We mixed the lentils in with the potatoes and rice because people don’t typically eat pulses on their own, but rather consume them in combination with other starches as part of a larger meal, so we wanted the results to reflect that,” coauthor Alison Duncan said in a statement.

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After analyzing the results, they found that replacing half a serving of rice with lentils caused blood glucose to drop by up to 20 percent. Replacing potatoes with lentils resulted in a 35 percent decrease. 

They explained that pulses, such as lentils, can encourage the production of short-chain fatty acids and slow digestion and the release of sugars into the bloodstream, which can lower blood glucose levels.

“This slower absorption means you don’t experience a spike in glucose,” Duncan said. “Having high levels over a period of time can lead to mismanagement of blood glucose, which is the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes. Essentially, eating lentils can lower that risk.”

The scientists now plan to further their investigations and collaborate with more health experts to explore the benefits of lentils. 

“We are hoping,” Duncan said, “that building evidence for approval of a health claim for pulses will further encourage people to add pulses to their side dishes.”

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