What Foods Have a Low Glycemic Index?
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
foods have a low glycemic index
can help those with type 2
diabetes choose more appropriate foods for meal plans or a menu.
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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:
- 0-55 (low GI). Includes most fresh, whole fruits and vegetables.
Exceptions are "starchy" vegetables and fruits, such as
potatoes and watermelon, which are considered high GI foods. Other
low-GI foods include whole grain products, legumes, fish, eggs, meat
and dairy products, and foods rich in fiber. Try to choose lower-GI
foods more often.
- 56-69 (medium GI). Includes a range of fresh, whole fruits and
vegetables. Generally, the 'starchier' they are, the higher the GI.
Likewise, the riper they are, the higher the GI.
- 70-99 (high GI). This includes many processed and refined foods,
as well as certain starchy fresh foods like potatoes and watermelon.
The glycemic index of any given food is determined by a number
of factors including the type of starch, and the molecular
compound of the starch as well as fat and protein. Salt and natural
oils and acids can also make a difference, and adding certain
ingredients to your meals can raise or lower its glycemic index.
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
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.
The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience,
and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual
situation should be directed to your doctor.