A Simple Trick To Control Your Blood Sugar During A Meal

A simple trick to control blood sugar during a meal

The most common way most of us eat our meals is to eat carbs along with vegetables and protein at the same time. We don’t pay much thought to the order in which we eat our food because it’s the way we’ve been eating all our lives. However, if you have diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes, then you need to tweak this order a little bit. New research has shown that eating your proteins and vegetables first and your carbs last could actually regulate your blood sugar levels better.

How Meals Can Affect Blood Sugar Levels

Eating your carbs last can control blood sugar levels


When you’re diabetic, how smart you are about your meals plays a huge role in how well you’re able to manage your blood sugar levels. Diabetics have a problem with refined carbs because these spike your blood sugar very fast. When you are insulin resistant, any sudden rise in your blood sugar levels cannot be controlled by your body. This is why it’s so important to manage your consumption of carbs because otherwise, your sugar levels will be completely unregulated. Limiting your consumption of refined sugars and starchy carbs is an important first step when you have diabetes. But rearranging the order in which you consume your carbs could be just as beneficial.

The Experiment

 Participants were given the same meals over three days but in different orders


A team of researchers from the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York led a study to examine the effects of the order in which carbs were consumed in diabetics. They picked 16 people living with type 2 diabetes to conduct the study on. These people had to eat the same meal over three days with the carbs component of the meal being ciabatta bread and orange juice. The protein component was skinless chicken breast while the vegetables they ate during the meals were lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. While the meals were the same for the course of the study, the only thing that changed was the order in which the carbs were consumed. They were eaten either at the beginning of the meal, together with protein and vegetables or after eating protein and vegetables.

Findings Of The Experiment

Blood glucose levels were monitored after each meal

After every meal, the participants had their blood sugar levels taken. Researchers compared the effects of the food order by comparing graphs of the areas under the curve (AUC) of glucose and insulin at the end of each meal. They found that eating carbs at the end of a meal had a significant impact on blood sugar levels. When participants ate carbs after consuming their vegetables and chicken, they had a 53% lower AUC for glucose. Their insulin levels also showed a significant improvement as compared to when they ate their carbs along with protein and vegetables. The levels of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) also showed a marked increase when meals were eaten in this order. This gut hormone is important for insulin secretion. The researchers also found that the worst time to consume carbs was at the beginning of a meal, on an empty stomach. Eating carbs at the start was found to spike blood sugar levels the most.

Can These Findings Be Applied To Real Life?

Changing your food order and limiting your intake of carbs can help manage your diabetes

The main limitation of this study was that the sample group was very small and that it studied the effects of only three kinds of food groups. Additional research needs to be done before it can be conclusively proven. However, if you have diabetes, then changing the order in which you eat your meals can be a small but impactful change. It could help you manage your blood sugar levels better and prevent sudden spikes. You could try monitoring your blood sugar after eating your meals this way to check if there is an improvement.

The study also found that reducing your total carb consumption for the day had a similar effect in reducing blood sugar levels. Try to eliminate refined sugar and carbs from your diet because these are the worst for your blood sugar. Instead of these carbs, consume healthy carbs like vegetables and unrefined, complex carbs like brown rice. They have a low glycemic index and won’t spike your sugar levels.