Steamed bread made from a new purple grain wheat variety developed by Chinese scientists may help lower blood sugar, according to a study published in the Nutrition Journal.
Diabetes is undoubtedly one of the most challenging health problems in the 21st century. According to the International Diabetes Federation, 366 million people globally have diabetes with China leading the table with 90 million diabetics and closely followed by India with 61.3 million diabetics.
AdvertisementSince diabetes is highly correlated with the life style and diet, it can be prevented by controlling the plasma glucose levels, that is, blood sugar. Multiple studies show that consumption of low glycemic index (GI) foods could have a significant impact on the preventing and controlling diabetes.
A slice (28g) of whole wheat bread contains 69 calories and although it is one of the most consumed food staples globally and is a 'moderately allowed' food in diabetic menu plan, this cereal comes with a glycemic index of 71 which is relatively high.
In Northern China, steamed bread is a popular daily food but with GI value of 88.1-98.3, the glycemic response of steamed wheat bread is even higher than the whole wheat bread.
Researchers, Su-Que Lan and colleagues, at Institute of Cereal and Oil Crops, Hebei Academy of Agriculture and Forestry Sciences, China, developed a purple-grain wheat variety named Jizi439, with enriched micro-nutrition especially organic chromium considered effective in attenuating insulin resistance and lowering plasma cholesterol levels, and with high amylase known to lower glucose responses, to see if it is the suitable variety for making low GI steam bread.
Organic chromium is one of the essential micro-elements for human body that plays a very important role in maintaining and regulating proper levels of carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It also helps decrease requirement for insulin and helps lower plasma cholesterol levels. Inorganic chromium does not show these functions so chromium has to be converted to organic form to get its benefits.
The researchers assessed the effect of wheat variety Jizi439 on postprandial plasma glucose in different subjects comparing with buckwheat, which is relatively lower in GI value. In total, twenty participants (10 healthy subjects and 10 type 2 diabetic subjects) were randomly recruited for the study. The 10 healthy subjects were given Jizi439 variety or another steamed purple grain wheat variety or a mixture of different white grain wheat varieties. The diet of 10 diabetic subjects included only the Jizi439 wheat variety.
The results showed that -
- In healthy subjects, consumption of Jizi439 steamed wheat bread resulted in the least increase in plasma glucose and the GI was significantly lower than the other two varieties.
- In diabetic subjects, the average of postprandial 2h plasma glucose increment of Jizi439 was 2.46mmol/L which was significantly lower than that of the mixture of white wheat but was not significantly different from buckwheat.
There is sufficient evidence that buckwheat effectively reduces diabetes symptoms. Earlier studies have shown that a single dose of buckwheat seed extract lowered plasma glucose levels by 12 to 19 percent within 90 minutes and 120 minutes after administration in laboratory animals. 'In present study, postprandial 2h plasma glucose level of Jizi439 was lower than that of buckwheat. Therefore, Jizi439 should be also beneficial to diabetes,' co-relate the researchers.
The researchers thus concluded that steam bread made from Jizi439 wheat variety would be an ideal food for preventing and treatment of diabetes.