The glycemic index, also known as GI, is a tool used by people with diabetes who are trying to manage their diets. Foods that have a high glycemic index are absorbed quickly, which causes an increase in blood sugar levels.
Low GI foods are typically rich in fiber but might also be high in fat, saturated fat and calories. The index is based on the weight of the food and not the portion size. Portion control is important for managing blood sugar and weight, regardless of the GI value of the food.
The GI is not related to the nutrition level of the food. Keep in mind that the GI is based on a food by itself, but foods are usually paired together for meals. It’s best to use the GI system by trying to combine high-GI foods with low-GI foods.
What determines GI?
Several things can influence the GI value of foods. For example, fruit juice has a higher level than fruit because the fiber is lower on the glycemic index. If the food is processed, the GI value is higher. A good example of this is mashed potatoes and a baked potato. The mashed potatoes have a higher GI value than a baked potato.
There isn’t one meal plan that works for everyone with diabetes, but a good start is to pick high-fiber foods. Choose other foods in their natural state, and less processed foods.
Meal plans should be worked around you and made to meet your personal preferences. In order to control your blood sugar and maintain a healthy weight, you must tailor your plan to your lifestyle. A dietitian can help develop a personalized meal plan for you. The Glycemic Index shouldn’t be the only determining factor in your food choices.
To see a list of the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for over 100 foods, click here.