Regular consumption of quinoa may help prevent type 2 diabetes

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New research has found that replacing complex carbohydrates with quinoa can mitigate blood sugar spikes after meals.

The study, published in the journal, Nutrients, was led by Diana Diaz Rizzolo, PhD, a member of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. According to the study, investigators sought to determine if quinoa could produce a benefit on postprandial glycemia that would result in less progression to type 2 diabetes.

To do this, researchers conducted a pilot clinical study for eight weeks. Nine participants aged 65 and older with prediabetes were monitored during this time. The first four weeks participants ate a regular diet and for the last four weeks they consumed a quinoa diet, replacing any complex carbohydrates they ate during the first half of the study.

"We compared the blood sugar patterns and found that when the participants had eaten quinoa, their blood sugar spike was lower than with their usual diet,” Diaz Rizzolo said in a statement. "This is crucial because these post-meal blood sugar spikes are a determining factor in the progression of type 2 diabetes."

According to the study, those on the quinoa diet showed a decrease in body weight and waist circumference. Nutrient intake also changed, including decreased carbohydrates and increased lipids, the study found. The authors concluded that in older adults who have higher type 2 diabetes, a diet rich in quinoa reduces postprandial glycemia and could be a promising type 2 diabetes preventive strategy.  

"Quinoa contains a high level of unsaturated fats, antioxidants, and polyphenols, with clear cardiovascular benefits," said Díaz Rizzolo. This pseudocereal also contains high levels of betaine, a compound capable of regulating homocysteine levels and preventing the onset of coronary heart disease.”