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Does resistant starch improve blood glucose control?

Project summary

Carbohydrate in the diet. A starch exchange model for managing glycaemia in Type 2 diabetes

Dr Denise Robertson wants to look at the effect of foods that have high levels of resistant starch on blood glucose control in people with Type 2 diabetes. This could help people with Type 2 diabetes to manage their condition, using diet, and could provide important evidence for future nutritional guidelines. 

Background to research

Starch is a type of carbohydrate found in foods like bread and pasta. It’s made up of a long chain of glucose molecules. But not all starch is the same. Resistant starch is a form that isn’t broken down in the gut, so the glucose it’s made up of won’t be absorbed into the blood. This means it shouldn’t raise blood glucose levels. 

Resistant starch is found naturally in some foods, like wholegrains and green bananas, and food can also be altered so that it has higher levels of this type of starch. 

In people who don’t have diabetes, replacing normal starch with resistant starch can reduce blood glucose spikes after meals. But we don’t know if the same effect would be seen in people with Type 2 diabetes. 

Research aims

Dr Robertson will look at the effect of resistant starch on blood glucose levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. People with Type 2 diabetes will try meals with normal starch, over four days, and meals where food has been replaced with a version that’s high in resistant starch, for another four days. The meals will be identical in appearance and taste, but the type of starch will be different. 

During both phases, their blood glucose levels will be continuously monitored. This will allow Dr Robertson’s team to see if the resistant starch is linked with any changes in blood glucose levels. Participants will also be asked about their opinions of the meals high in resistant starch and what could be improved.

Potential benefit to people with diabetes

This project will help us to understand whether resistant starch can help people with Type 2 diabetes to reduce their blood glucose levels. If successful, this could provide a new diet-focused way to manage Type 2 diabetes and could potentially impact on UK nutritional guidelines. 
 

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