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Diet for Diabetics 101

As diabetics, the first thing we ask is if sugar needs to be eliminated from our diets. Honestly, even the food that you don’t think has “sugar” could actually be harming your body. While this truth is harsh, the reward is even better! Read this article to find out how to move your diet to a low GI diet to manage your diabetes more effectively.

What is GI?

The glycaemic index (GI) is a set range that describes whether a certain food raises blood glucose levels abruptly, moderately or slowly. Foods with a medium to high GI range of 55 or above are considered rich in glucose and can abruptly raise the blood sugar levels, causing a variety of health complications-from obesity to diabetes and heart problems. Thus, low GI foods are a better and healthier alternatives to the regular diet.

So how can I use GI for my diabetes?

The GI index can be very useful in helping you manage your diabetes. Different types of carbohydrates are digested and absorbed by the body at different rates, and GI is a basic ranking of how quickly each carbohydrate-based food and drink makes the blood glucose levels rise after they are consumed.

What range should I be looking at on the GI scale?

The GI index ranges from 0 to 100 and usually uses pure glucose, with a GI of around 100, as reference. Slowly absorbed carbohydrates have a low GI rating of 55 or below and this includes most fruits and vegetables, unsweetened milk, nuts, pulses and some whole grain cereals .

Will this really help my diabetes?

Research has further shown that choosing low-GI foods can particularly help an individual manage long-term blood glucose (HbA1c) levels, especially in people with Type 2 diabetes. This is because the low GI foods can help keep blood glucose levels steady after eating.

Low-glycemic index (GI) diets are also believed to reduce postprandial glycemia, resulting in more stable blood glucose concentrations.

“Recent investigations show that good glycaemic control decreases the risk for diabetic complications in type 2 diabetes patients, The slower release of glucose into the circulation mitigates the glucotoxicity that high blood glucose levels exert on the pancreatic beta cells.
Therefore, a good, balanced Glycemic diet helps diabetics manage their daily food routine effectively, thus helping them to live a healthier life with diabetes. 
Further, Low-GI diets , other than being useful for glycemic control, may reduce body weight in people with prediabetes or diabetes”
 - Health deputy director-general (public health) Dr Chong Chee Kheong 

Here's how to choose low a balanced low GI diet:

Try to avoid high GI foods like rice and maida. As they raise the blood glucose levels abnormally fast. You can try switching to their low GI alternatives. 

Choose high fiber foods that take longer to digest and hence, raise blood glucose levels gradually. These foods may include broccoli, lentils, peas, oats, legumes, barley, etc.

Everyday foods with a low GI

Here are great low GI alternates for everyday eating - 

*Note - All these foods should still be consumed as a part of a balanced nutritious diet