About 30 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. People wander everywhere to find a complete solution to this problem. Diabetes is a condition in which the blood sugar level in the body is raised and unfortunately it cannot be cured fully. But, the glycemic index diet promises to maintain the sugar levels in the blood and reduce its risks.
What is the Glycemic Index Diet?
The glycemic index (GI) diet is based on the foods that have an impact on the blood sugar levels. This diet is one of the tools in the diet plan like calorie counting or carbohydrate counting. The diet insists on the intake of foods containing carbohydrates that do not increase the blood sugar levels. The glycemic index diet is found to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart-related diseases.
Who can Follow This Diet Plan?
The glycemic diet plan was mainly formulated for people who have diabetes. Diabetic patients can follow this diet as it has got a positive impact on reducing their sugar levels in the blood. Apart from them, people who wish to lose weight can also uptake this diet plan. Consultation with a doctor or health care provider is very important if you have any health concerns.
The glycemic index diet was mainly formulated for diabetes patients to help them choose their foods. Carbohydrate is a type of nutrient found in the food. It is found in various foods like fruits, vegetables, bread, and cereals. For having good health, the addition of carbohydrates to the diet is mandatory.
The glycemic index values:
The glycemic index values are numbers given to all the food items that contain carbohydrates based on how much glucose it elevates in the blood. Foods that have no carbohydrates in them like fish, chicken, beef, and eggs will not be included in the list. The glycemic index values are generally grouped into three grades:
- Low glycemic index – 1 to 55
- Medium glycemic index – 55 to 70
- High glycemic index – 70 and higher
These values guide us in choosing healthier foods and thereby control the amount of sugar consumed. For example, muesli has a glycemic index value of 57 whereas a whole wheat bread has a glycemic index value of 74. There are some food items listed below from which you can choose your favorite.
|Food||Glycemic index value|
|Unleavened wheat bread||70 ± 5|
|Barley||28 ± 2|
|Wheat roti||62 ± 3|
|Cornflakes||81 ± 6|
|Millets||67 ± 5|
|Pineapple||59 ± 8|
|Watermelon||76 ± 4|
|Dates||42 ± 4|
|Boiled carrots||39 ± 4|
|Vegetable soup||48 ± 5|
|Fruit yogurt||41 ± 2|
|Rice milk||86 ± 7|
|Honey||61 ± 3|
Foods to eat:
You will just need to swap high glycemic index foods with low glycemic index foods. There are a variety of foods from which you can make your dietary meal.
- Fruits – apple, strawberries, peaches, plums, and kiwi
- Vegetables – carrot, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, corn, yams, and potato varieties
- Legumes – baked beans, lentils, chickpeas, and kidney beans
- Rice – brown rice and basmati
- Dairy – milk, yogurt, and almond milk
- Bread – whole grains, multigrain, and sourdough varieties
- Cereals – oats, muesli, and all-bran
Foods to avoid:
These are some high glycemic index foods that are to be replaced with low glycemic ones.
- Bread – white bread, naan bread, and bagels
- Rice – jasmine and medium-grain white rice
- Dairy – oat milk and rice milk
- Cakes and biscuits – doughnuts, cookies, and waffles
Smoothie – berries + milk + yogurt + cinnamon
Chicken sandwich – whole-grain bread + salad
Homemade burgers – beef patties + vegetables + whole wheat rolls
Benefits of the Glycemic Index Diet
Weight loss –
Studies reveal that people who followed this diet had lost weight considerably. In the other weight loss programs, people may regain their lost weight over a period but in this diet you can maintain your body after losing weight.
Blood sugar level –
It is best recommended for diabetic patients to count their amount of carbohydrate consumed. This is because the amount of carbohydrates in the food forecasts the blood sugar levels than the glycemic index.
Cholesterol level –
Low glycemic index foods are found to have a good impact on cholesterol levels. They help in lowering the overall cholesterol in the body including the bad cholesterol (lipoproteins). When the low glycemic index foods are consumed along with fiber they are more effective.
Reduces appetite –
It is found that high glycemic index foods rapidly increase the blood glucose levels in the body and the person is found to fell hungry very soon. But, low glycemic foods are found to control hunger and thereby reduce appetite. People who follow this diet for the long term are able to maintain their body weight.
Is it Effective for Diabetes?
People with diabetes are unable to process the sugar present in their body and so their blood sugar levels are found to be high. Diabetic patients are also prone to various complications such as stroke, improper functioning of kidney, heart diseases, and also damage to the nerves. The glycemic diet aims at people having diabetic conditions and been proved to works best for them. Consumption of high glycemic index foods is found to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Limitations of the Glycemic Index Values:
The glycemic index values do not inform about the number of nutrients present in the foods. For example, a chocolate bar is found to have the same glycemic value of a cup of brown rice, but their nutritional values are very different. There are several factors that alter the glycemic index values such as conditions under which the food is prepared, other foods that are consumed during this diet, and how much the food is processed. A particular food is found to contain a variety of glycemic index values and the values are unsustainable.
For maintaining the current bodyweight you should burn out all the calories you intake whereas, if you want to lose weight you must burn more calories than the amount you consume. The glycemic index diet helps you to manage this since it has a well-balanced, low-fat meal.