Using The Glycemic Index For Blood Sugar Control

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People who have diabetes have to watch their diets carefully. This is because, for a variety of reasons, they have trouble being able to process the sugar or glucose in the bloodstream. If the level of glucose gets out of control, it can wreak havoc on many of the major organs of their body. One way to control their glucose levels is to watch what they eat.

But what are the right foods that can help you to manage your diabetes? To answer this question you have to know something about the glycemic index or GI.

The glycemic index is a table that assigns points to foods based on how they affect the glucose level in the body. The index ranges from zero to one hundred. The point system takes into account two factors. The first is how fast they affect the blood glucose levels. The second is how much they affect the blood glucose level.

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Foods that are digested slowly, usually have a low GI rating. Foods that are absorbed into the body quicker, have a higher GI rating. What this means is that if you eat a food with a high GI rating, you will probably see a spike in your blood sugar levels. Therefore, it makes sense that if you want to successfully manage your blood glucose levels, you should mainly focus on eating foods that fall in the lower or medium GI range.

The glycemic rating does have its limitations, however. The biggest limitation is that we seldom eat one food alone. For example, when we eat lunch, we may eat a sandwich, a salad, a drink, and possibly, a dessert. In other words, we are eating a combination of foods. And, this makes the GI of the combined foods much more difficult to compute.

Luckily, however, you seldom need to calculate the exact glycemic index values of the foods you are eating. All you need to do is to be aware of the general principle of a low GI diet. And that is to mostly eat foods that fall into the low range (GI below 55) and the mid-range (GI from about 55-70). If you do this, you can occasionally have foods from the high GI (over 70) range and still manage your blood sugar level.

Although, as a whole, low GI foods are good, all low GI foods are not created equal. Many are high in fat or sugar. For example, peanuts is a low GI food which has a lot of nutrients, but it is also high in fat. Likewise, potato chips are low in GI, but also low in nutrients and high in fat. And, orange juice is low GI but high in sugar. Although important, low GI is only one factor in considering what foods you should eat.

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