The monosaccharides resulting from the digestion of ingested carbohydrates are glucose, fructose, and galactose. Of these three monosaccharides, only ingested glucose resulted in a large increase in the plasma glucose concentration. Fructose (Metabolism 41:510–517, 1992) and galactose (Metabolism 42:1560–1567, 1993) had only a minor effect. Therefore, we were interested in determining whether we could design a mixed meal, using foods of known monosaccharide, disaccharide, and starch composition, the ingestion of which would result in only a small rise in plasma glucose concentration.
The experimental meal was composed of very little readily digestible starch but rather large amounts of fruits and vegetables. It contained 43% carbohydrate, 22% protein, and 34% fat. The results were compared with a second type of meal that contained 55% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 30% fat, with an emphasis on complex carbohydrates (starch). It also was compared with a third meal that contained 40% carbohydrate, 20% protein, and 40% fat, typical of that consumed by the average American. The test meals were ingested in random order by people with type 2 diabetes who were not treated with oral hypoglycemic agents or insulin. Each subject ingested each type of meal. The same identical meal was ingested at 0800, 1200, and 1700.
The integrated 24-h plasma glucose area response was statistically significantly smaller (P < 0.05) after ingestion of the low-starch meals compared with the high-starch, highcarbohydrate meals or the typical American meals. The 24-h integrated serum insulin area response also was statistically significantly less (P < 0.05) after ingestion of the low-starch meals compared with the high-starch meals or the typical American meals. The serum triglyceride area response was similar after ingestion of all three test diets.
A diet in which fruits, nonstarch vegetables, and dairy products are emphasized may be useful for people with type 2 diabetes.