Glycemic index or GI is a measure of how fast your glucose level increases in response to a certain food item. Carbohydrates have a GI index, while other foods such as oils, dairy, and meats do not have a GI index.
Foods with higher GI values increase blood sugar levels quickly compared to the foods with a lower GI. Most people with diabetes use the glycemic index to help control their sugar levels by having a combination meal or low GI foods.
What is GI Anyway?
The GI has values from 0 to 100 and uses glucose as the highest value with a GI of 100. Carbs which are absorbed into the bloodstream slowly have a low GI. Thus eating foods with a lower GI can help you have better control over your blood sugar and make it easier for you to keep your diabetes in check.
Below are some examples of foods with their GI values
Low GI foods (0 to 55):
Barley, Rolled organic oats, pasta, carrots, non-starchy vegetables and other greens. Apples, grapefruit and many other fruits. Dairy products like yogurt and milk
Moderate GI foods (56 to 69):
Pita bread, brown rice, and raisins
High GI foods (70 and higher):
White bread and pastries, processed cereals, junk foods, potatoes and white rice
A person suffering from diabetes especially type 2 diabetes should only choose foods from the medium to low GI list. If you end up eating a particular food which has a higher GI, then you must accompany it with something which has a lower GI. This is to ensure that the meal is balanced out so your blood sugar levels don’t rise quickly.
Portion Size Counts
Portion control also matters when you are trying to lose weight or maintain your current weight to control your diabetes. Always try to reduce the number of carbs in your meal plan and keep an eye on the food portion you consume.
Remember, processed foods have a high GI, and are detrimental to your sugar levels. You must also remember a maintaining your bodyweight can control your diabetes. Gaining weight is a downward spiral and weight once gained is hard to lose.
GI And Diabetes
If you want to control diabetes, GI should not be your only focus. This is because GI can mislead as well. For example, chocolate has a low GI because of the higher fat levels. But if you indulge in too much chocolate, you might end up gaining a lot of weight which is terrible for your diabetes in the long run. To control your sugar levels, your overall diet must be balanced, healthy and nutritious. Cutting out processed food, fats and salt from your diet is a clever move.
Cooking methods (frying, boiling and baking) also affect the GI of certain foods. Plus, if you choose a riper fruit, it will have a higher GI than a non-ripe one since the ripe one will be absorbed faster into your bloodstream. Also processed fruit juice will have a higher GI than eating the fruit itself. The cooking time of the food item also affects the GI.
Since we talked about the help GI can be in controlling diabetes, it is also important to mention that GI can be problematic as well. The GI does not take nutrition into consideration.
Foods having a low GI index can well have high amounts of sugar or fats. Plus GI only takes carbs into consideration and does not even adhere to the amount of food eaten or how they are cooked or prepared.
If only GI is taken into consideration your diet could be very unbalanced. Your calorie intake could be high, leading to an increase in sugar levels which would mean you lose a handle on your diabetes. It can also be difficult to follow the glycemic index. Often foods which come under brand names have no GI listed and it is almost impossible to calculate it.
Make Healthy Eating Choices
Reading GI lists should not be your only move. You must follow a healthy diet, make healthy choices and you must have a diet plan which is tailor-made to your particular lifestyle. The basics of portion control, having lesser carb intake and overall healthy eating with GI consideration can help you control your diabetes.
Incorporating exercise into your lifestyle can maintain your weight and keep sugar levels in check. Remember, the more you keep your diabetes in check, the lesser the complications you will face.
To know more about how you can keep blood glucose levels in check, contact your healthcare provider using a trustworthy telemedicine platform today. You can also visit the healthcare facility for a consultation.