A new study found that eating mindfully is equally effective as following a dietary based program in terms of reducing blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 diabetes.
Mindful eating involves paying attention to your body’s cues of hunger and satiety and slowing down to experience the texture, flavor, color and aroma of your meal. For example, in common mindfulness training a student is given a few raisins, or a piece of fruit and spends anywhere from 10 or 20 minutes looking at, thinking about, holding and patiently chewing the food.
In the study, the effectiveness of meditation and a mindful approach to food selection was compared to a nutrition based education program. Results showed that participants in both groups lost about the same amount of weight (average of between 3 1/2 and 6 pounds) and lowered their long-term blood sugar levels significantly after only three months. Both interventions participated in weekly group meetings and recommended exercise.
“The more traditional education program includes general information about diabetes, but with more emphasis on nutrition and food choice: What are different types of carbohydrates and fats and how many am I supposed to have? What should I look for when I read a food label? What are healthy options when dining out? That was the traditional diabetes education program,” said the author of the study Carla Miller, associate professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University.
“We compared it to an intervention where mindful meditation was applied specifically to eating and food choices. This intervention group did not receive specific nutrition goals. We said we want you to really tune into your body before you eat. Take a few minutes to assess how hungry you are and make conscious choices about how much you’re eating. Stop eating when you’re full. We studied two very different approaches, and we found they both worked. This means people with diabetes have choices when it comes to eating a healthy diet,”