There may be times when starches are your only option–or cravings for that muffin, bagel or coffee cake for breakfast are just too powerful to overcome.

A new lab study shows that mice that had an antioxidant in green tea with corn starch significantly reduced increases in blood sugar (glucose) compared to mice not given the compound. In the study, researchers separated mice into several groups based on body weight, then, after fasting the mice, gave them common corn starch, maltose, or sucrose. One group was given the antioxidant EGCG with their food while a control group was not. Researchers then tested the blood sugar levels of both groups.

The jumps in blood sugar were about 50 percent lower in those given the antioxidant known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, said study researcher Joshua Lambert, an assistant professor of food science in agricultural sciences, and the antioxidant was found to be most effective when given at exactly the same time as corn starch.

The dose given to the mice would equate, for a person, about one and one-half cups of tea, said researchers.

This means that for those with diabetes that struggle with intense cravings for starchy breads, bagels, cakes, and muffins, the burden of an occasional splurge may be lessened when accompanied with a cup or two of freshly brewed green tea.

“If what you are eating with your tea has starch in it then you might see that beneficial effect,” Lambert said. “So, for example, if you have green tea with your bagel for breakfast, it may reduce the spike in blood glucose levels that you would normally get from that food.”

Lambert said the researchers’ next step is to test the compound on people.

Is green tea a staple in Your healthy-eating plan?