What is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index (GI) tells us whether a food raises blood glucose levels quickly, moderately, or slowly. This means it may be useful in helping you manage your diabetes. Different carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates, and the GI is a rating of how quickly each carbohydrate-based food and drink causes blood glucose levels to rise after eating them. – The glycemic index (GI) tells us whether a food containing carbohydrates raises blood glucose levels quickly, moderately, or slowly. This means it may be useful in helping you manage your diabetes. Different carbohydrates are digested and absorbed at different rates, and the GI is a rating of how quickly each carbohydrate-based food and drink causes blood glucose levels to rise after eating them.
The GI index ranges from 0 to 100 and typically uses pure glucose, which has a glycemic index of around 100, as a reference. Slow-absorbing carbohydrates have a low GI index (55 or less) and include most fruits and vegetables, unsweetened milk, nuts, legumes, and some whole grains.
– Research has shown that choosing low glycemic index foods can particularly help control long-term blood glucose (HbA1c) levels in people with type 2 diabetes. There is less evidence to support this in people with type 1 diabetes, but We know that choosing low glycemic index foods daily can help keep blood glucose levels stable after eating.
– Not all foods with a low glycemic index are healthy options; Most chocolates, for example, have a low glycemic index due to their fat content, which slows the absorption of carbohydrates.
– The combination of foods with different glycemic indexes alters the general GI of a meal. You can maximize the glycemic index benefit by switching to a low GI option with each meal or snack. Go easy on low-glycemic foods like chocolate, which is high in calories, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Save them for occasional moments.
– Eating to manage diabetes is not just about glycemic index scores. Think bigger picture and choose foods high in fiber and whole grains, as well as low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, as part of a long-term healthy diet.
Glycemic index and diabetes – Questions and answers
What else affects the glycemic index?
– Cooking methods: fry, boil and bake.
– Processing and maturity of fruits and certain vegetables.
– Fiber: Whole grains and foods rich in fiber act as a physical barrier that slows the absorption of carbohydrates. This is not the same as “whole”, where, although the whole grain is included, it has been ground rather than left whole. For example, some mixed-grain breads that include whole grains have a lower glycemic index than whole wheat or white bread.
– Fat reduces the glycemic index of a food. For example, chocolate has a low glycemic index due to its fat content, and boiled potatoes have fewer calories than French fries and therefore a lower glycemic index.
– Protein reduces the glycemic index of foods. Milk and other dairy products have a low glycemic index because they are high in protein and contain fat.
Foods with a low glycemic index in a healthy and balanced diet
It’s easy to include low-GI carbohydrates in your daily meals:
– Choose easy-to-cook basmati or rice, pasta, or noodles. Or try banana, quinoa, or bulgur wheat for variety.
– Eat whole wheat roti and include dhal ( legumes from which the skin has been removed) in your meals.
– Use new potatoes instead of old potatoes; Try sweet potatoes for variety.
– Instead of white and whole wheat bread, choose granary bread, pumpernickel bread, or pumpernickel bread.
Swap frozen fries for pasta or noodles.
Try oatmeal porridge, natural muesli, or whole-grain breakfast cereals.
Educate yourself about the Glycemic Index
Some books offer a long list of Glycemic Index values for many different foods. This type of list has its limitations. The Glycemic Index value relates to the food consumed alone, and in practice, we usually eat combined foods as meals. Bread, for example, is usually eaten with butter or vegetable oil as a spread, and potatoes can be eaten with meat and vegetables.
An additional problem is that the Glycemic Index compares the glycemic effect of an amount of food containing 50 g of carbohydrates, but in real life, we eat different amounts of foods containing different amounts of carbohydrates.
Note: The amount of carbohydrates you consume has a greater effect on blood glucose levels than the Glycemic Index alone.