Glycemic Index and Diabetes

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Recently, the number of diabetes patients has tremendously increased. In our daily meal, we may unintentionally consume too many carbohydrates which will directly shoot up the blood sugar levels. Carbs contained in refined sugar or bread can converse into glucose easier than slowly converted carbs in whole grains and vegetables. Hence, it could easily lead to diabetes and other diabetes complications. In order to control blood sugar levels, many people use glycemic index as a guide to select proper foods in their daily meal.

What is the glycemic index?

A glycemic index is a number that tells you about the speed of the body on converting specific foods into glucose. By using glycemic index, we can easily classify carbohydrate-containing foods by tracking their makings to raise insulin. If you eat foods with a high glycemic index value, your blood sugar levels will increase higher than eating foods with a lower value. The smaller the glycemic index, the lesser chance your blood sugar level is at risk. Two different foods with the same amount of carbohydrates could have different glycemic index value. Diabetes patient should carefully check the glycemic index in consuming food to keep the blood sugar more stable.

What is the specific glycemic index standard?

Here is the list of some specific foods on their glycemic index (GI):

Low GI foods ( less than 55)

  • Whole wheat or pumpernickel bread
  • Oatmeal, oat bran, muesli
  • Pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar
  • Sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils
  • Most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium GI foods (56-69)

  • Whole wheat, rye and pita bread
  • Quick oats
  • Brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous

High GI foods (More than 70)

  • White bread or bagel
  • Corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal
  • Short grain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni, and cheese from mix
  • Russet potato, pumpkin
  • Pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers
  • Melons and pineapple

Should I follow GI meal plan?

Although propose many benefits, the glycemic index is quite complicated meal planning tool and be hard to follow. Many health professionals conclude that there is no fixed standard for what is considered low, average and high glycemic foods. For example, most packaged foods do not list out their GI value on the label so it may confuse consumers who want to have a meal plan containing that food. However, doctors may use the GI as an additional tool combined with a patient’s current meal planning system.

In summary, there is no specific meal plan that can apply to all diabetic patients. Each patient needs to have a specially tailored diet which follows individual body index, lifestyle and health condition. For more information, you should seek for a dietitian or a diabetic doctor to help you achieve goals for blood glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides levels, blood pressure, and weight management.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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