The glycemic index or "GI" system of measurement is one way to help determine "good" foods to include in a diabetic diet. The glycemic index measures how much and quickly any given food will increase your blood glucose levels, which is done by measuring the effects of carbohydrates in foods. Knowing what foods have a low glycemic index can help those with type 2 diabetes choose more appropriate foods for meal plans or a menu.
The higher the glycemic index of a food, the higher the rate of absorption into the bloodstream. Consuming high-GI foods can make blood sugar levels "spike". Conversely, a low glycemic index means a slower glucose release and is the preferred choice for diabetics as it helps to keep blood sugar levels under control. The glycemic index ranges from:
Those who have a history of diabetes in their family but have not been diagnosed with the disease themselves can take on a low GI diet as a preventative measure as it is known to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. For those who have already been diagnosed, the low GI diet helps to control blood sugar levels.
Ingredients added to food while cooking or eating can impact the glycemic index of your meal. For example, adding butter or oil or vinegar to your food may lower the overall GI - but adding these things to high GI foods will not make them healthy. A calorie still counts -- eating large amounts of low-GI foods can still mean you take in too many calories. And too many calories means weight gain. A dietitian can help you create a sensible eating plan. A fun and interesting diabetes cookbook can help you learn the types of healthy, nutritious, and tasty meals that can be prepared.
Those with type 2 diabetes can benefit from a low GI diet as it assists in the management of blood glucose levels. Knowing what foods have a low glycemic index can help you make informed meal choices - including the occasional dessert.