Following a diet rich in low GI foods is one simple lifestyle change that diabetes sufferers can make to help manage this ailment. Foods that have a low GI are digested more slowly in the body resulting in a slower elevation of blood sugar or glucose limiting swings in blood sugar level, increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin, curbing hunger cravings and also by reducing the risks of heart problems.
Type 2 Diabetes
According to research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, those with type 2 diabetes are also advised that they might be better off increasing their intake of beans, lentils and nuts instead of high-fiber cereals such as bran flakes or whole wheat. Canadian researchers also found that those who exchanged a high-fiber diet for a low GI diet saw an improvement in both cholesterol and blood glucose levels.
The Diabetics Association in Australia outlines the close relationship between GI and diabetes, reiterating that high GI foods require more of the hormone insulin to be produced or even injected to control blood glucose levels. They state that low GI foods help control diabetes as they produce lower blood glucose levels and therefore less insulin is required.
However many nutritionists, doctors and medical advisors place importance on eating a varied diet and not only one that consists solely of low GI foods. Dietician and care advisor for UK charity Diabetes UK Natasha Marsland states “The Glycaemic Index is certainly useful as it can guide people towards foods which release their energy slowly and don’t cause sudden increases in blood sugar levels. We recommend people eat a varied diet and wouldn’t advise that those with diabetes stop eating high-fibre cereals simply because they have a higher GI ranking. Many low GI foods such as apples, porridge oats and pulses are high in soluble fibre whereas the high-fibre cereals such as bran flakes or wholemeal bread contain more insoluble fibre. Both are important to good digestive health.
Low GI Foods
“Eighty per cent of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight at the time of diagnosis so our dietary advice is often about a low sugar, low fat diet with an emphasis on portion control. Low GI foods such as porridge or pasta might be good for blood sugar levels but not if you eat a huge bowlful! Moderation is the key and that means you can enjoy small amounts of high GI foods, too” concludes Natasha.