Choosing low glycemic foods to curb blood sugar, lower diabetes risk has become a necessity in view of increasing mortality and morbidity from the twin diseases, say experts.
It is known that when one has diabetes, one knows all too well that when carbohydrates, is consumed, blood sugar goes up.
The total amount of carbs consumed at a meal or in a snack is said to mostly determine what the blood sugar will do. However, the food itself plays a key role.
Experts say for example, a serving of white rice has almost the same effect as eating pure table sugar — a quick, high spike in blood sugar while a serving of lentils has a slower, smaller effect.
Therefore, picking good sources of carbohydrates can help in the control of blood sugar as well as weight. Eating healthier carbohydrates can help prevent a host of chronic conditions, especially diabetes, but it can also ward off heart disease and various cancers.
One way to choose foods is with the glycemic index (GI). This tool measures how much a food boosts blood sugar.
The glycemic index rates the effect of a specific amount of a food on blood sugar compared with the same amount of pure glucose. A food with a glycemic index of 28 boosts blood sugar only 28% as much as pure glucose. One with a GI of 95 acts like pure glucose.
Glycemic index chart
High glycemic foods result in a quick spike in insulin and blood sugar (also known as blood glucose). Low glycemic foods have a slower, smaller effect.
Choose low glycemic foods
Using the glycemic index is easy: choose foods in the low GI category instead of those in the high GI category (see below), and go easy on those in between.
- Low glycemic index (GI of 55 or less): Most fruits and vegetables, beans, minimally processed grains, pasta, low-fat dairy foods, and nuts.
- Moderate glycemic index (GI 56 to 69): White and sweet potatoes, corn, white rice, couscous, breakfast cereals such as Cream of Wheat and Mini Wheats.
- High glycemic index (GI of 70 or higher): White bread, rice cakes, most crackers, bagels, cakes, doughnuts, croissants, most packaged breakfast cereals.
|Swaps for lowering glycemic index|
|Instead of this high-glycemic index food||Eat this lower-glycemic index food|
|White rice||Brown rice or converted rice|
|Instant oatmeal||Steel-cut oats|
|Baked potato||Pasta, bulgur|
|White bread||Whole-grain bread|
|Corn||Peas or leafy greens|