Despite your blood sugar levels rising when you eat carbohydrates, you will still need to eat carbohydrate containing foods, because glucose is your body’s main fuel.
Glycemic Index, whether it is high or low, is usually in nutrition facts of food packaging especially if such a food is recommended for Diabetics.
Why should people with diabetes know about this?
The classification of GI is:
- <55: low
- 56-69: medium
- >70: high
Glucose in blood stimulates secretion of insulin from the pancreas which is responsible in clearing glucose from the blood by stimulating cells to take up glucose. Thus a lower glycemic response usually leads to a lower insulin demand which in turn may improve long term blood sugar control.
The factors affecting GI values
- The process of making the food
The process of making the food has a big influence on its GI value. For example, pasta contains a lot of starch and when cooked or heated longer, its GI rises.
- The level of ripeness
This is applicable to fruits; the riper the fruit, the higher the GI value. Banana is one such fruit.
- Other foods we eat at the same time
We usually eat a mixture of foods at each meal, the combination of foods with different GI values affects the overall GI value of the meal. For example brown bread eaten alone has a High GI but when eaten with dhal the GI of the meal is medium. However, be mindful that even low GI foods contain significant amounts of carbohydrate so always eat them in moderation.
The GI of different foods
The GI can help you decide the quantity and quality of carbohydrates in your meals. The following is types of foods with different GI levels.
- Low GI: whole nuts, peas, non-starchy vegetables.
- Medium GI: brown rice, white wheat, sweet potato, beet, corn, green onion, kiwi, papaya, pineapple, raisin, and watermelon.
- High GI: white rice, white bread and potato.
Considering the GI of foods, if you are diabetic or not, is one of the factors that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Eating foods rich in different nutrients so as to maintain a healthy eating pattern and exercising regularly will work together in stabilizing your blood sugar level.