While freshly cooked, boiled, or roasted potatoes are recommended to be best for diabetics, eating stale potatoes that need reheating should be avoided.
The most important recommendation doctors make to people with type 2 diabetes is to follow strict meal times and eat a healthy diet. Usually this means eating foods with a low glycemic index (GI), especially in the evening, so that the patient’s blood sugar levels don’t spike after or after the meal. This is why heavy meals or meals consisting of white rice, potatoes, or sweets are things that diabetic patients should avoid.
But a new study published in Clinical nutrition suggests that the GI is not the only factor to consider in diabetic patients, and that avoiding potatoes is not mandatory for them either.
Why GI may not be the only viable parameter
The study begins by mentioning the fact that the GI of carbohydrates is the basis for the dietary management of type 2 diabetes, and the guidelines recommend replacing high GI carbohydrates with low GI carbohydrates such as whole grain breads, legumes, and basmati rice low GI. The way the GI of all foods is calculated requires that a person with no blood sugar problems consume each type of carbohydrate individually, typically after an overnight fast, and then the resulting increase in blood sugar is measured.
The researchers behind this study say that this method has major limitations. During actual meals, these carbohydrates are rarely consumed in isolation and are more likely to be combined with other foods. In this case, the glycemic response (GR) to foods like potatoes depends on concomitant ingestion or other foods, their micronutrient content, the method of preparation and cooking, which can significantly affect the resistant starch content. Repeated cooling and reheating of carbohydrates also affects the resistant starch content of potatoes and can thereby affect the GR. Finally, GR also depends on the variability of the individual, rather than just the GI of certain foods.
To eat or not to eat potatoes?
The researchers behind this study looked at the effects of various methods of cooking potatoes when consumed as part of a dinner on the postprandial glycemic response. The researchers also determined the nocturnal GR and postprandial insulin response in type 2 diabetes patients. They compared several potato-based meals with low GI basmati rice to investigate which one had worse postprandial and nocturnal GR.
The study included 24 men and women aged 58 and over with type 2 diabetes. The participants received a standardized breakfast and lunch. Dinner was served at 6 p.m. and included boiled potatoes, fried potatoes, and boiled potatoes refrigerated for 24 hours, or low GI basmati rice. Each meal was 50 percent carbohydrate, 30 percent fat, and 20 percent protein. Blood samples from the participants were collected before and immediately after meals. They were also taken at 30 minute intervals for the following 120 minutes and a glucose monitor was worn to determine the nightly GR.
The researchers found that none of the potato meals resulted in a negative postprandial GR, although consumption of the pre-cooked and reheated potato resulted in a slight increase. In addition, the nightly GR after consuming potato-based meals was significantly lower than that of those who consumed low GI basmati rice.
Based on these findings, it is clear that avoiding potatoes is not a necessity for people with type 2 diabetes. While freshly cooked, boiled, or roasted potatoes are recommended to be best for diabetics, eating stale potatoes that need reheating should be avoided.
For more information, see our article on Diet for Diabetes.
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