What can I take with a carb-rich meal that could decrease the post-meal elevations in both glucose and insulin?

A more uniformly beneficial strategy that CC dieters can use to minimize the effective glycemic index of carb-rich meals is to include factors such as soluble fiber, vinegar, or almonds. These have the potential to suppress meal-induced increases in both glucose and insulin. How these work to achieve this benefit is still not entirely clear, but the current scientific literature offers some clues. Soluble fiber forms a dense meshwork that slows the interaction between starch and the key digestive enzyme which degrades it, amylase. The acetic acid in vinegar appears to decrease the activity of enzymes (disaccharidases) in the intestinal lining required for full digestion and absorption of starch and sucrose. Substituting modest amounts of almonds for carbohydrate intake of equal caloric value is associated with a large reduction in daily insulin secretion — up to a third — that is clearly disproportionate to the reduction in carb intake; why almonds are so effective in this regard remains mysterious.

Beans are a rich source of soluble fiber; they also contain phytochemicals which partially inhibit digestive enzymes and thereby slow carb absorption.  Other good dietary sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, and fruits such as prunes, plums, and berries.  These foods have an inherently low glycemic index, and their fiber content potentially can slow the digestion of the starch in co-ingested foods.  Soluble fiber is also available in supplemental form – glucomannan is particularly effective (though it is more safely and effectively administered in powder form stirred into fluid than in capsules) – and capsules containing bean-derived “starch blocker” phytochemicals are also being sold.  A tablespoon or so of vinegar is sufficient to lower the effective glycemic index of a meal – you can use it on salads, or dilute apple cider vinegar into water with a little added sweetener to make a pre-meal “vinegar cocktail”.  (Don’t drink vinegar straight, as the acidity could damage your tooth enamel and traumatize your esophagus.)  An ounce or so of almonds daily appears sufficient to lower daily insulin secretion; and the fat in almonds is overwhelmingly monounsaturated, so they should also have a favorable impact on the fat profile of your cellular membranes.

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