People with diabetes need to effectively manage their conditions and maintain a normal level of blood sugar, According to research conducted by American Heart Association, people with diabetes is more likely to develop a life threatening conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke and renal damage. Consuming foods with low glycemic Index helps in achieving a goal to maintain a normal sugar level.
Glycemic Index as defined by nhs.uk is a rating system for foods containing carbohydrates, a numeric value assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly they can increase your blood glucose levels after consuming a certain kind of food. It is a number from 0-100 assigned to a certain food, the pure glucose has an index score of 100, if the food has a score of 20, means it will boost sugar levels by 20% compared with the pure glucose.
Foods with a low or medium glycemic index (GI) is broken down more slowly and cause a gradual rise in blood sugar levels over time, it helps you feel fuller for longer time, which aids in controlling your appetite, helps in reducing weight. By contrast, high glycemic Index foods are broken rapidly, which cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels. A low glycemic index refers to GI value of 55 and below, while foods with a GI value of 56 to 69 are considered medium. A GI value of 70 and above is considered high glycemic foods.
People with Diabetes Mellitus or who are at risk of developing the disease should eat foods with low glycemic index to help them control blood glucose levels. Aside from choosing foods with low glycemic index, research study shows that the amount of carbohydrate consumption has the biggest role in the rise of glucose levels after meals. It is also vital to eat a balanced diet, low in saturated fats, low sodium and low in sugar, plenty of fruits and vegetables
However, high glycemic foods can be taken after a strenuous physical activity when the body needs more glucose or during hypoglycemia, when the blood sugar is remarkably low. An example of high glycemic foods are sugary foods and drinks, white bread, starchy vegetables, white rice etc.
According to WHO, Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease in which the hormone insulin, which is produced by the Islets of Langerhans of the pancreas is not enough to control the glucose levels of the body, as a result sugar levels are elevated which result in damage to blood vessels, kidneys and the heart. About 422 million people have diabetes, particularly in low-middle income countries, and 1.5 million deaths are attributed to diabetes each year.
Two most common types of Diabetes Mellitus:
- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (IDDM) once known as Juvenile Diabetes a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces a little amount of insulin or nothing at all, people having this type is dependent with insulin for life.
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM) usually occurs in adults when the body becomes highly resistant to insulin or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to control the glucose level of the body. Progression of type 2 diabetes to Type 1, can be prevented by lossing extra weight, exercise, lifestyle modification and following a strict diet which includes choosing foods low in glycemic index.
Common foods with low glycemic index recommended for Diabetes
- Most vegetable such as green peas, onions, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes beet, cucumbers, leafy greens like spinach, collards, kale, green beans, bok choy, broccoli, artichokes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, snow peas, and mushrooms.
- Certain fruits like apples, pears, plum, avocado, olives, dried apricots, unripe bananas, peaches, strawberries, cherries, coconut grapefruit, cranberries, blueberries and citrus fruits.
- Whole or minimally processed grains like barley, whole wheat, oats, rice bran cereals, whole grain pasta, brown bread
- Dairy products such as plain yogurt, soy milk, cottage cheese
- Nuts and seeds such as chia, sunflower and flax seeds
- Poultry products like chicken, eggs, turkey
- Meat such as beef and pork, fish & shellfish, unsaturated fats such as extra virgin oil, canola oil.
Diabetes Mellitus is increasing each year, in research from WHO there are 422 million people are suffering from diabetes and 1.5 million died each year because of this disease. This disease is chronic and metabolic affecting the production of the hormone insulin produce by the pancreas, responsible for controlling blood sugar levels in our body. In diabetes the insulin is produced insufficiently or there is a resistance of insulin, which is type 2 diabetes mellitus, while type 1 diabetes is a condition of little production of insulin or nothing at all.
To help maintain the blood glucose level to normal, health education regarding food choices and diet is very important to a person with diabetes, their family and caregiver. Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, less salt, saturated fats and sugar, likely, low and medium glycemic index is recommended for people with diabetes.
Low & medium GI foods were broken down more slowly, thus blood sugar is increased gradually, besides, it also promotes food satisfaction helping control appetite and weight loss, while foods with high GI were broken down rapidly resulting from the sudden rise of blood glucose level. However, foods with high GI can be eaten after vigorous exercise and condition where there is a sudden decreased in blood glucose level known as hypoglycemia.
Foods with medium and low GI includes most vegetable such as green peas, onions, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes beet, cucumbers, leafy greens like spinach and more. Certain fruits like apples, pears, plum, avocado, olives, dried apricots, unripe bananas, peaches, strawberries, cherries, coconut grapefruit, cranberries, blueberries and citrus fruits. Whole or minimally processed grains, dairy products such as plain yogurt, soy milk, cottage cheese, nuts and seeds such as chia, sunflower and flax seeds, poultry products and meat like chicken, eggs, turkey, beef and unsaturated fats like olive and canola oil.