Glycemic Index: Can it Help You Control Diabetes

When it comes to diabetes, there is no longer one “right” way to eat. There are many meal planning approaches and eating patterns that can be effective in managing diabetes. The glycemic index (GI) is one of those plans. The meal planning approach you select should be one that allows you to eat what feels right and still maintain proper blood glucose – also called blood sugar, control, cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and body weight. Read on to determine if the glycemic index is right for you.


What Is the Glycemic Index?

Developed over 30 years ago, the GI is a measure of how quickly a particular carbohydrate raises blood sugar as compared to a standard amount of glucose. A standard amount of glucose will raise blood sugar faster than any other food and is rated as 100. All other foods are rated from 0 to 100 depending on how the food compares to the glucose standard; 55 or less is a low GI, 55-69 is medium, and 70-100 is high. Food with a high GI will raise your blood sugar quickly, while a low GI food, which is absorbed more slowly, will raise your blood sugar more slowly. Only foods that contain carbohydrates have a GI index. Foods such as oils, fats, and meats do not have a GI index.

Benefits for Diabetes Management

There’s a growing body of research that indicates that the GI may provide an additional benefit in the management of diabetes. A low GI diet seems to lead to lower fasting blood sugar levels. It also reduces hemoglobin A1C, which suggest that blood sugar control is maintained over a longer period of time. There is also some evidence that a low GI diet may lead to less hunger, which can prevent overeating and weight gain.