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Diet Diabetes Nutrition

Lentils Lower Blood Glucose Levels

1 year, 7 months ago

5021  0
Posted on Jun 27, 2018, 10 p.m.

A new study suggests that replacing half a portion of starchy side dishes for pulses can significantly lower blood glucose levels and improve the body’s response to carbohydrates, as published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Researchers from the University of Guelph have found that swapping out a half serving of rice for lentils led to blood glucose levels to drop by 20%, and swapping out potatoes for lentils led to a drop of 35%. Some nutrient dense food items such as pulses have potential to reduce chronic diseases associated with mismanaged glucose levels.


Researchers recruited 24 healthy adults to participant in this study who were then fed four dishes: either half white rice mixed with half small green lentils, half white rice mixed with half large green lentils, half white rice mixed with half split red lentils, or white rice only. Glucose levels were measured before they ate, during, and two hours after eating; then the process was repeated substituting white potatoes for the white rice in the same combinations with lentils. Blood glucose levels were found to fall by similar amounts when replaced with any of the lentils. 


Potatoes and rice were used as people don’t typically eat pulses on their own and would rather eat them in combination with starches as part of a larger meal thus the combinations to reflect more accurate results. Digestion is slowed by consuming lentils as well as release of sugars found within starch into the bloodstream, reducing blood glucose levels, slower absorption stops spikes in glucose. Maintained high blood glucose levels can lead to mismanagement of blood glucose and Type 2 diabetes.


Pulses contain enzymes involved in absorption of glucose and fibre that can encourage production of short chain fatty acids which help to reduce blood glucose levels.


A 20% reduction in blood glucose levels is required by Health Canada before a claim can be made in regards to health benefits about blood glucose levels being lowered can be approved. Researchers are helpful that this adds to evidence for approval of health claim for pulses will encourage more people to added consuming pulses to their side dishes to gain benefits.


Materials provided by University of Guelph.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

Dita Moravek, Alison M Duncan, Laura B VanderSluis, Sarah J Turkstra, Erica J Rogers, Jessica M Wilson, Aileen Hawke, D Dan Ramdath. Carbohydrate Replacement of Rice or Potato with Lentils Reduces the Postprandial Glycemic Response in Healthy Adults in an Acute, Randomized, Crossover Trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 2018; 148 (4): 535 DOI: 10.1093/jn/nxy018


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