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Using Meal Sequencing to Manage Glucose and Insulin

Can eating the components of a meal in a designated sequence help manage blood glucose and insulin levels? In a study out of Cornell, prediabetic participants tested this theory by consuming identical meals (leafy green salad with oil and vinegar dressing, chicken breast, and bread) on three separate occasions with a week in between. Each time they consumed the three items in a different order. Glucose and insulin levels were measured before the meal and at 30-minute intervals up to 180 minutes later.

As you can see in the charts, both glucose and insulin spiked when the bread was consumed first. Researchers concluded that beginning a meal with fiber (leafy greens) and fat (oil in the dressing) slows the conversion of starch (bread) into glucose thereby flattening the glucose / insulin curve. 

You may recall from last week's newsletter that repeated insulin spikes leads to insulin resistance over time. Insulin resistance introduces serious health concerns including Type 2 diabetes.

Graph showing glucose measurements following a meal
The Effect of Meal Sequencing on Glucose Levels
Graph showing insulin measurements following a meal
The Effect of Meal Sequencing on Insulin Levels

Since there were only 15 participants in the Cornell study, I dug deeper into the research locating 3 meta analysis reviews that involved 7, 11, and 30 studies. Protocols varied by study, but they all reached a similar conclusion. 

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Research on the Effect of Meal Sequencing on Glucose, Insulin and Weight Management



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