Here’s a better way to track glucose if you’re Diabetic
People with diabetes generally stick to one rule: keep away from sugary foods. But this can severely limit the type of food a diabetic can eat and can lead to misinformation on the actual glucose content of a food.
To prevent miscalculations and for a diabetic to enjoy any food he or she wants to eat, it is better to use the glycemic index to rate the quality of carbohydrates in food.
What is the glycemic index (GI)?
The index measures the impact a food has on the blood sugar. It measures food in terms of how quickly their carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels and are rated low, medium and high.
Food with low GI are those which are rated 55 or less. Food with medium GI are those that range from 56 to 69. High GI food are those which are rated 70 or above.
Food categorised as low in the glycemic index do not lead to dramatic blood sugar rises. On the other hand, food categorised as high cause significant rise in the blood sugar.
How are food rated using the index?
The glycemic index rates food in terms of:
- Fibre content. Higher fibre means lower GI
- Time of cooking. Food that are cooked longer have high GI
- Acidity. Acidic food have lower GI
- Process. The more processed a food is, the higher its GI
- Ripeness. The more ripe food is, the higher its GI
Note that there are always exemptions to the rule. The glycemic index is not based on normal servings of food. They are rather based on a fixed amount as tabulated by the index (see table below).
Benefits and risks of using GI
The index is important for diabetics so they can monitor the food they eat and give themselves variety at the same time. The index can also be used by those who want to lose weight since it can control hunger and appetite.
Those who use the GI must, however, take care to remember that the total amount of carbohydrates eaten is ultimately responsible for post-meal blood sugar levels. The GI also doesn’t take into account the nutritional content of food, which may be dangerous to those who need specific types of vitamins and minerals.
How to use GI wisely
Knowing the GI of food can help diabetes patients how to pair up or combine meals without having to deal with high post-meal blood sugar levels. For example, low GI food can be paired with high GI food, allowing diabetic eaters to control their blood sugar level while maximising their choice of meals.
Here’s a table of food and their GI based on 100 grammes of carbohydrates:
Whether used to control blood sugar levels or to aid you in your diet regiment, the best way to use the GI to your advantage is to ask for supervision from your doctor.