Diabetes and The Glycemic Index

One of the most frequently used home and natural remedies is food. What you eat, or don’t eat, plays the largest role in how healthy you are throughout your life.

Controlling your diabetes naturally with food is easier to do when you know what the glycemic index is and how to use it to your advantage.

The glycemic index, also known as the GI, tells you how fast foods raise your blood sugar levels when you eat them. Some foods are known to raise your blood sugar levels very quickly, while others will raise it slowly and help it to stay at more balanced levels for longer periods of time.

When you eat too many foods which cause your blood sugar levels to raise quickly, your body usually tries to counteract this rapid rise by releasing more insulin. Diabetics are unable to release enough insulin to deal with such a large spike, however, so they must use medications to control the blood sugar levels instead.

By using the glycemic index, though, you’re able to choose foods which don’t cause such blood sugar spikes so quickly and drastically. This allows you to keep your blood sugar levels more balanced throughout the day and can potentially allow some diabetics to reduce their prescription medications or not require them at all anymore.

Figuring out the GI of many foods is complicated, but there are charts and books you can buy for easy reference. Essentially, though, all foods are rated based on how fast they cause your body’s blood sugar levels to rise. Everything is weighted against either pure glucose or plain white bread. In either case, glucose or white bread are given a GI value of 100 and they’re the base for determining the values of other foods.

Very low GI foods have values of 39 or less. Low GI foods are generally 40-54; Moderate is 55-69; High is 70 and above.

Lower GI foods will be digested more slowly by your body, which causes a much slower rise in blood sugar and much less demand for more insulin. These foods also sustain your energy for longer and often help keep you feeling satiated for longer as well, so you don’t over eat.

Higher GI foods on the other hand, cause quick rises in your blood sugar levels, and leave you feeling hungrier sooner. These higher GI foods also wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and insulin needs.

Some foods will surprise you when you see their Glycemic Index values. Cheerios for instance, considered to be a healthy breakfast cereal, has a GI value of 74. So eating this as a breakfast meal is something diabetics would want to do on rare occasions, instead of daily.

Another example is instant potatoes, which have a GI value of 83, and baked potatoes, which have a GI value of 85. Both of these are higher than french fried potatoes which has a glycemic index value of 75.

Sugar free yogurt on the other hand, has a GI value of 14, and yogurt with sugar added tends to run about 33 on the GI scale.

This is just a simple introductory overview of course, but these examples show how using the Glycemic Index to determine which foods you’ll eat or avoid, can help you to manage your diabetes naturally.

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