A simple diet program can help your child’s blood sugar levels improve, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Columbia University found that a diet plan that focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and whole grains like rice and beans, can reduce the number of red blood cells in the body, improve blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
“If your child is overweight, overweight kids are more likely to develop diabetes,” Dr. Paul Hochberg, a professor in the department of pediatrics at the University, told ABC News.
“Our findings suggest that children with metabolic syndrome and low-grade inflammation are particularly at risk of cardiovascular disease.”
Hochberg and his colleagues examined data from over 7,500 children and adolescents ages 6 to 18 who were recruited from the New York State Health Department’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
They found that kids who followed a low-calorie, low-fat (lacto-ovo-vegetarian) diet had significantly lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and higher levels of HDL, the “good” cholesterol.
“These results were consistent across all of the diet groups, regardless of the individual child’s obesity status,” Hochbi wrote in a news release.
“Our findings indicate that a dietary intervention that emphasizes whole grains may improve the health of metabolic syndrome children and their children’s health.”
A healthy diet and low calorie intake are linked to better blood sugar control, Hochbodow said.
In addition to lowering blood pressure by decreasing glucose levels and lowering triglycerides, a diet that is high in whole grains and fruits can lower triglycerides and LDL, the bad cholesterol.
The study found that children who ate a healthy diet had lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and lower levels in triglycerides compared to children who did not follow a diet.
Hochbodo also found that adults who followed the same diet had similar levels of triglycerides.
“It is very likely that if you can reduce cholesterol, HDL, triglycerides you will reduce your risk of all these diseases,” Huchberg said.