Eating Low Glycemic Index Foods Such as Peanut Butter Decreases Diabetes Risk in Women

Eating low glycemic index foods such as peanut butter, yogurt, beans and broccoli along with a diet high in cereal fiber can significantly reduce the risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes in women, according to a new Harvard School of Public Health study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study consisted of 65,173 American women, aged 40 - 65, who were free from diagnosed cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. During six years of follow-up, 915 cases of diabetes were documented among the women.

The study supported the well-known risk factors for non-insulin-dependent diabetes of age, obesity, family history, smoking and sedentary lifestyle. It also supported diet as a risk factor: a diet high in sugar and low in cereal fiber was significantly linked to an increased risk of diabetes.

Basically, a diet high in sugar (a high glycemic index) and low in fiber triggers the body to increase production of insulin in an attempt to regulate blood sugar. A chronic high demand for insulin may lead to insulin resistance and a lessened ability to produce insulin. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes may follow.

In the U.S., up to 16 million people may be suffering from diabetes — more than three-quarters from non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Non-insulin-dependent diabetes commonly goes into remission with proper diet, weight loss and exercise. The glucose in low glycemic index foods, such as peanut butter, is digested more slowly leading to a gradual increase in blood sugar. For this reason, low glycemic index foods are recommended to help control both non-insulin-dependent and insulin-dependent diabetes.

The diet recommended for diabetics is not a "special" diet. It is the same kind of healthful eating plan that is recommended for everybody - high in fiber and low in sugar and fat.