Magazine article USA TODAY

"Do Your Best" Not Good Enough

Magazine article USA TODAY

"Do Your Best" Not Good Enough

Article excerpt

A specific goal to eat a set number of daily servings of low glycemic-index foods can improve dietary habits of people with type 2 diabetes, according to research from Ohio State University, Columbus. Study participants were given a goal to eat six to eight daily servings of foods with a low-glycemic index--carbohydrates that are digested slowly and are less likely to spike blood-sugar levels than would carbohydrates with a high-glycemic index.

Goal-setting theories are applied widely in the workplace and in sports management, but little research has examined the effectiveness of setting goals in a clinical setting to improve health--even though it is a common technique used by health-care providers.

"We ask people to set goals because they motivate action," explains Carla Miller, associate professor of human nutrition. "Telling people to 'go out and do your best' is not effective. It's not specific enough, or targeted enough, or timely--but, in this context, it's not just a matter of setting a goal; it's deciding what specifically you are going to modify to help you achieve a more healthful diet."

Miller also published related findings from the study which showed that, after increasing their intake of low-glycemic-index foods, participants as a group lowered their weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and hemoglobin A1c reading--all indicating better control of their blood sugar. …

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