Is Ginger Beneficial in a Diabetic Diet?

Is Ginger Beneficial in a Diabetic Diet?

August 17, 2019 48 By William Morgan


“Is Ginger Beneficial in a Diabetic Diet?” In a case report of the successful
management of type 2 diabetes with a lifestyle intervention, a
45-year-old fellow took responsibility for health into his own hands and
sought to defeat his disease and get off the drugs by eating foods
purported to be anti-diabetic. But how strong is the evidence
for, let’s say, ginger? Diabetes is reaching pandemic levels and
requires safe, affordable, and effective therapies, so what about the potential of
ginger in the prevention and treatment? Well, in a petri dish, increasing
exposure to ginger compounds improves blood sugar uptake of muscle cells almost as much as
the popular diabetes drug metformin. And in rats, ginger might work
even better then metformin. But weight and blood sugar reduction
observed in rodent models does not necessarily
translate to humans. In this study a combination of
nutraceuticals caused mice to lose 30% of their body weight
in one month, but in people? No benefit compared to placebo. You don’t know if something works
in humans until you put it to the test. If you feed people refined flour
white bread with a cup of water, this is what happens to their blood
sugars over the next two hours. But drink some unsweetened green
tea with that white bread instead, and there’s less of
a blood sugar spike. Same with cinnamon tea,
and same with ginger tea, made by mixing a tablespoon of grated
fresh ginger in a cup of hot water. OK, but these were
healthy, normal subjects. What about the effects
of ginger in diabetics? This was the first study of its
kind: diabetics randomized to take a teaspoon of ground
ginger a day for two months hidden in pill form, so they could
compare it with identical looking sugar pill placebos, and
ginger supplementation decreased the levels of insulin, which is a good thing, and lowered
triglycerides and LDL cholesterol, but without a significant
effect on blood sugars. Now, look, heart disease is
the leading killer of diabetics, so a 13% drop in LDL bad cholesterol
would be reason enough to shell out the nickel a day it would cost
to add that much ginger to your diet, but it would have been nice to see an
improvement in blood sugar control. There was that drop
in insulin levels, which suggests
improved insulin sensitivity. And indeed there was a significant
drop in insulin resistance, so maybe they just didn’t give
ginger long enough time to work? Well, that was two months.
How about three months? Even less ginger, just 1.6 grams,
less than a teaspoon a day, but for 12 weeks and… maybe ginger can reduce
blood sugars after all, and decrease inflammation, cutting
C-reactive protein levels in half. What about going back to just 8 weeks,
but this time using a higher dose, three grams a day or about
one and a half teaspoons? And a significant decrease
in fasting blood sugars and long-term blood sugar
control in the ginger group, thereby showing the effect of
ginger in controlling diabetes. Check it out: the placebo group continued to get
worse; the ginger group got better. Similarly, amazing randomized, double-
blind, placebo-controlled results for a teaspoon a day for 12 weeks,
and for a teaspoon and a half. All better in the ginger group; all
worse in the non-ginger group. All significantly different, just because of a little cheap, safe,
simple, side-effect-free spice. Put all the studies together, and
they clearly demonstrate that ginger can lower blood sugar levels and
improve long-term blood sugar control, and at a totally manageable dose. I mean you could just dump a teaspoon
of ginger powder in a cup of hot water and just drink it down. So overall “adding a little spice
to our life” may serve as a delicious and sensible
way to maintain a healthy body.