Low-Carb versus Low Glycemic Index – Food&Nutrition Example

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"Low-Carb versus Low Glycemic Index" is a controversial example of a paper on food and nutrition.   Type 2 diabetes mellitus is the most common type of diabetes afflicting 90% to 95% of all diabetics. Type 2 diabetes mellitus is otherwise known as non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It is usually caused by insulin resistance. The resistance of insulin makes it difficult for the body to absorb sugar, thus leads to an increase of blood sugar which can then clog up the blood vessels, leading to various other complications such as stroke. The primary treatment for this type of diabetes is dietary modification and exercise.

Oral antidiabetic agents can be given if diet and exercise are not enough. Insulin may be used on either a long or short-term basis to prevent hyperglycemia. As one of the primary interventions for diabetes mellitus type 2, dietary changes are easily done and are as simple as following a menu. The focus for dietary changes is on the glucose consumption of the individuals. There have been arguments whether the amount of glucose or the quality of glucose is the key to reducing weight and managing diabetes mellitus type 2.

The quality of glucose is all about its glycemic index (GI), which indicates how fast certain food increases your blood sugar. This study aims to identify the most effective diet for weight loss in diabetic patients with a BMI of more than 29 between low-carb and low glycemic index (Smeltzer & Bare, 2003). Importance of Weight loss in Diabetes Mellitus According to Smeltzer and Bare (2003), “ nutrition, diet, and weight control are the foundations of diabetes management” (p. 1156). Maintaining the proper caloric intake is a way to make sure that the blood sugar does not rise to harmful levels.

Maintaining proper nutrition and having proper food intake by limiting the carbohydrate intake to as much as the person needs prevents hypo and hyperglycemia. The patient’ s caloric needs must be calculated so that the amount of calories he or she can consume is also calculated. The monitoring and calculation of the caloric needs of the patient are so complex that a registered dietitian has the major responsibility of making most of the therapeutic plan. The nutritional management of diabetes has the following goals: Providing a well-balanced diet with the right amount of nutrients; Providing sufficient calories for the patient’ s energy needs; Maintaining a reasonable weight; Preventing high or low blood glucose levels, with them being as close to normal as possible to prevent complications from hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia; Decreasing serum lipid levels to lessen the chances of the patient developing a macrovascular disease. Maintaining proper weight is also important for patients who need to take insulin to control their blood glucose.

Consistent caloric intake prevents the patient from experiencing hypoglycemia as a side effect of insulin replacement therapy. For obese patients, weight loss is necessary.

People with a BMI of more than 29 are considered obese. These people are at a larger risk for diabetes mellitus type 2 since obesity leads to greater resistance to insulin. If they can reduce their weight, they might even lessen or completely eliminate the need for pharmacological intervention. Losing as little as 10% can really help reduce blood glucose levels in obese diabetic patients. If the obese patient does not take insulin, the most important part of their dietary management is the reduction of their caloric intake. Abete et al.

(2010) wrote that the challenge in diabetes mellitus concerned not just the weight loss, but also the bodyweight maintenance, which is difficult for them to do. There is no question that they should limit the caloric intake of diabetics, but the question is how best to go about it. This is what this research is for. Low-carbohydrate diets and weight loss In the interest of reducing their caloric intake, one of the ways to do that is to reduce the number of carbohydrates in the food that the patients eat.

Reducing the overall carbohydrate intake is a direct way to reduce caloric intake. Since most foods contain carbohydrates in various forms, it means reducing the amount of food he eats. According to Anderson and Woodend (2003), high glycemic carbohydrates produce satiety but can only maintain it for a short time, meaning the person can get hungry faster. Pairing this with the lesser amount of food means the person will seek food more often, making it difficult for them to keep up with the therapeutic regimen. Low-glycemic index diets and weight loss Starches are considered complex carbohydrates.

It takes a while before they become glucose; because of this, starches such as beans and grains have been considered a food with the low glycemic index. A diet with low carbohydrates seeks to limit simple carbohydrates such as sugar or other sweets. Limiting the glycemic index is about keeping the person full and making the person less likely to eat more by increasing the satiety and quality of the food he eats.

Low glycemic index foods increase satiety for 2 to 3 hours, which is longer than in the case of the high glycemic foods. This would make people less likely to eat more, since they feel full most of the time, making it easier for them to keep up with the nutrition plan (Anderson & Woodend, 2003). This was supported by the study of Navas-Carretero et al. (2011), who found out that low glycemic, moderately high-protein foods in meals may promote body weight and fat mass loss. Methods This study is a quantitative comparative study between a low-carb diet and a diet rich in foods with a low glycemic index.

40 adult participants were selected. The participants are obese diabetics with BMIs more than 29. They had to be diagnosed with insulin-resistant diabetes mellitus type 2. First, the participants’ baseline weights were taken. Then, the participants were divided into two groups; one group was prescribed a low-carb diet, while the other was given a diet with a low glycemic index, both of which were given by a nutritionist. They were not instructed to engage in any special exercises but were told to adhere to the diet and write a food journal on what they ate during the day, everyday.

They were also told to return after a month for a checkup. Their progress was measured monthly for six months to see which of the two groups were able to lose the most weight and maintain that weight. Results The results of this study are a straightforward comparison of which of the two diets is more effective in weight loss for insulin-resistant adults with a BMI of more than 29.

The mean weight lost could be taken at the end of six months, and the group with the most weight lost on average would be the ones with a more effective diet. Conclusions What this research shows is one aspect of the effectiveness of dietary modifications in obese diabetics. This only shows the weight loss of these individuals which, though a very important part of the treatment, is merely a state of physical health. Managing a lifestyle illness involves more than adjusting the physical aspect of a person’ s lifestyle.

There is a need to also adjust the person’ s perspective and mindset. Losing 10% of your body weight in six months is pointless if you can gain it back on the seventh. Instead of just looking at which diet lost the most weight, nutritionists, dietitians, and diabetics also have to consider which diet is an easier change to that person’ s lifestyle. Finding a diet that a person could stick to has a better long-term effect than finding out how to lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time.

References

Abete, I., Astrup, A., Martinez, J. A., Thorsdottir, I., & Zulet, M. A. (2010). Obesity and the metabolic syndrome: Role of different dietary macronutrient distribution patterns and specific nutritional components on weight loss and maintenance. Nutrition Reviews, 68(4), 214-231. doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00280.x

Anderson, G. H., & Woodend, D. (2003). Effect of glycemic carbohydrates on short-term satiety and food intake. Nutrition Review, 61(5, pt. 2), S17-S26.

Navas-Carretero, S., Abete, I., Zulet, M. A., & Martinez, J. A. (2011). Chronologically scheduled snacking with high-protein products within the habitual diet in type-2 diabetes patients leads to a fat mass loss: a longitudinal study. Nutrition Journal, 10, 74. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-10-74

Smeltzer, S., & Bare, B. (2003). Brunner and Suddarth’s textbook of medical-surgical nursing (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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