Is it healthier to eat vegetables before carbohydrates? | Top Vip News


Q: I have heard that it is better for my health to eat a salad before dinner. But if I eat vegetables anyway, does the order really matter?

It’s a popular health trick on the Internet: eating food in the correct order (first vegetables, then proteins and fats, and lastly carbohydrates) and will significantly reduce the resulting increase in blood sugar, which can therefore reduce cravings, fatigue and health risks such as type 2 diabetes, advocates say.

Past investigation in he issuesometimes called nutrient or meal sequencing, has concluded that it may actually benefit blood sugar, especially for those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

For everyone else, it’s not so simple, said Dr. Alpana Shukla, a physician and researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, who has studied food order. Although there are some reasons to consider trying it, she said.

Existing studies on the benefits of meal sequencing are small, but the results are consistent, experts say.

In one 2023 review of 11 studies.For example, researchers concluded that people who saved carbohydrate-rich foods for the end of a meal, after vegetables and protein, had significantly lower blood sugar levels than when they first consumed them.

In one study 2019 Of 15 people with prediabetes, Dr. Shukla and her colleagues asked participants to eat skinless roast chicken, salad, and ciabatta in three different orders on three different days: ciabatta first, followed 10 minutes later by the chicken and salad. ; first the chicken and salad, followed by the ciabatta; and the salad first, followed by the chicken and ciabatta.

The researchers measured the participants’ blood sugar levels just before eating and every 30 minutes for three hours after each meal. They found that when participants ate chicken and salad before the bread, their blood sugar spikes after the meal were about 46 percent lower than when they ate the bread first.

Researchers aren’t entirely sure why this might be. One theory is that eat fat, fiber and protein first delays stomach emptyingwhich could slow the absorption of sugars from carbohydrates into the bloodstream, Dr. Shukla said.

Barbara Eichorst, vice president of health care programs at the American Diabetes Association, said it makes sense for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes to consume vegetables and protein first during meals, because unlike carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins do not disappear quickly. They turn into sugar and cause high blood glucose spikes.

For those who have type 2 diabetes, some limited research It even suggests that this blood sugar-lowering effect could be comparable to certain diabetes medications, said Nicola Guess, a clinical dietician and researcher at the University of Oxford in Britain. Although more research is needed on the topic.

Research has also shown that eating carbohydrates at the end of a meal can reduce blood sugar spikes. in people who do not have diabetes. But experts said healthy people generally don’t need to control their blood sugar this way.

A properly functioning body will return blood sugar levels to normal within hours of eating, said Dr. Vijaya Surampudi, an endocrinologist at UCLA Health.

However, since protein, fat, and fiber-rich vegetables take longer to digest In addition to simple carbohydrates, saving them for last can help people feel fuller longer, said Dr. Domenico Tricò, an assistant professor of internal medicine at the University of Pisa in Italy, who studies food order. .

Research also suggests that eating this way can stimulate the intestine to produce more satiety hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 or GLP-1. (The diabetes medication Ozempic is designed to mimic this hormone.)

“GLP-1 slows down digestion and tells the brain that you are not hungry,” said Dr. Surampudi. But some experts said it’s unclear whether small increases in this hormone from meal sequencing alone (compared to the large increase you’d get with a drug like Ozempic) would make a big difference in how full you feel. .

If you tend to feel sluggish after meals, it might help to add vegetables or protein at first, Dr. Shukla and Dr. Surampudi said.

Some investigation also suggests Saving carbs for the end of a meal can make you more likely to fill up on vegetables and protein and eat fewer simple carbs, which tend to be lower in nutrients and higher in calories, Dr. Shukla said.

The bottom line, experts said, is that while meal sequencing is one of many healthy eating strategies, it’s not something to worry about. Diet trends like these sometimes make people anxious, which can lead to eating disorders.

“If it’s easy for you, then you should try it,” Dr. Tricò said. But if not, just look for high-quality food that you like. Eating vegetables at every meal is more important than focusing too much on the order of foods, Dr. Guess said.

Nikki Campo is a freelance writer in North Carolina.

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