(HealthDay News) – For individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus, consumption of a low glycemic index (GI) diet incorporating legumes is associated with improved glycemic control and a reduction in the risk of coronary heart disease.

David J.A. Jenkins, MD, from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, and colleagues examined the role of legumes in a low-GI diet in type 2 diabetes. A cohort of 121 participants with type 2 diabetes were randomly allocated to three months of a low-GI diet that encouraged participants to increase legume intake by at least one cup per day, or to increase insoluble fiber by consumption of whole wheat products.

The researchers found that the low-GI legume diet correlated with a 0.5% reduction in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) values, while the high wheat fiber diet correlated with a 0.3% reduction in HbA1c values. The relative reduction was significantly greater for the low-GI legume group compared with the high wheat fiber diet. In the low-GI legume diet group, the coronary heart disease risk reduction was 0.8%, which was mainly due to a greater reduction in systolic blood pressure with the low-GI legume versus the high wheat fiber diet.

“In conclusion, legume consumption of approximately 190g per day (one cup) seems to contribute usefully to a low-GI diet and reduce coronary heart disease risk through a reduction in blood pressure,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the nutrition and pharmaceutical industries.

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