Date of Award

Spring 5-25-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Mary Fontenot


The purpose of this study was to evaluate effects of a low-glycemic index diet on weight, body mass index (BMI), triglycerides, cholesterol levels, and hemoglobin A1c

(HbA1c) following participation in a 12-hour outpatient diabetes self- management education (DSME) program. This DSME program is unique as it

focuses on a low-glycemic index diet rather than the traditional carbohydrate consistent diet to control blood glucose levels. Health outcomes obtained post participation were compared to baseline data. Participants were 283 individuals with type 2 diabetes including 94 (33%) men and 189 (67%) women, with a mean baseline HbA1c of 8.7 ±2.2%. Statistically significant improvements were seen in mean BMI (-0.7±2.0 kg/m2 , p<0.05), HbA1c (-1.1±1.9%, p<0.05), and total cholesterol (-12.3±37.3 mg/dL, p<0.05). No statistically significant differences in changes between men and women were found for the outcomes measured. Although males showed improvements in HDL cholesterol (+1.7±8.1 mg/dL, p =0.052), results were not statistically significant, unlike the significant improvements for the female group (+1.6±10.1 mg/dL, p<0.05). Traditionally, a carbohydrate consistent diet has been supported as the primary diet for diabetes management. This research shows a low-glycemic index diet can also be beneficial. Future research should include long-term randomized control trials to compare the two approaches to diabetes management. The effects of the low-glycemic index diet on medication use and quality of life also should be explored.