This Food With Low Glycemic Index For Diabetics blog is dedicated to sharing information about healthy eating and cooking. You will find recipes and plenty of information to help you eat well and maintain a healthy lifestyle. We focus on a wide variety of topics including low glycemic load foods, gluten-free recipes and cooking, vegetable gardening tips and tricks, one recipe meals and other healthy eating practices suitable for busy people like you.
Food With Low Glycemic Index For Diabetics
A low glycemic index diet can be particularly effective for people with diabetes if portion control is also applied to those foods with higher carbohydrate content.
This is the basis of working out a food’s glycemic load.
Low GI diets are diets which incorporate foods which are more slowly converted into energy by the body.
The NHS notes that low GI diets can be a suitable option for people with diabetes as they can help to blood glucose levels more stable than diets based around high GI foods.
What does low and high GI mean?
The glycemic Index ranks food depending on the rate at which the body breaks it down to form glucose.
High GI foods are those that are quickly broken down into glucose. Typical examples of high GI foods include white bread, sweetened drinks, biscuits, potatoes and oranges.
Low GI foods are those that are broken down more slowly by the body. Typical examples of low GI foods include whole grain bread, milk, beans, leafy vegetables and berries.
What do low GI foods do in relation to diabetes?
As low GI foods tend to break down more slowly, they are less likely to cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels compared to high GI foods and therefore they are a better option for keeping stable blood glucose levels.
Favouring low GI foods over high GI foods leaves you feeling more satisfied over a longer period of time, and less likely to feel hungry before the next meal.
What do high GI foods do in relation to diabetes?
High GI foods break down very quickly causing blood glucose levels to rise sharply. People with diabetes refer to sharp rises in blood sugar levels as ‘spikes’ in blood sugar.
Furthermore, for those who produce their own insulin, high GI foods can force the body to try to produce a surge of insulin to counteract the quick acting carbohydrates and a common consequence of this is a feeling of hunger within 2 to 3 hours, which can leave the dieter craving more food.
For people with diabetes, this can be particularly dangerous as the ability of the body to control blood glucose levels is reduced or non-existent.
For this reason, people with diabetes have to be careful when it comes to eating high GI foods.
Benefits of low GI diets
Low GI diet generally have the following benefits:
- Have a higher nutritional value than higher GI equivalents
- Provide prolonged release of energy
- Reduce the immediate demand for insulin following eating
- Allow for a varied diet to be eaten
- Glycemic index charts make food choices easy to follow
Disadvantages of low GI diets
The main disadvantage of low GI diets for people with diabetes comes if the overall carbohydrate content of meals is too high for the body to comfortably cope with.
For example, a large portion of a bran based cereal for breakfast will typically be low GI but could contain a relatively high value of carbohydrate.
In this case, the carbohydrate content of the meal could be too high for some people with diabetes, causing their blood glucose levels to rise too high over a period of hours.
However, this needn’t be such a problem if portion control is applied to any foods that have a higher carbohydrate content.
When the glycaemic index value of a food and its carbohydrate content are taken into account together, this is the basis of working out the glycemic load of a portion.
What foods are considered low GI?
Low GI foods that are considered suitable for people with diabetes include.
- Some fruit
- Non-starchy vegetables
- Whole grains
- Lean meats
- Unsweetened dairy produce
Care should be taken with fruits and vegetables as the GI value of these food groups can vary quite significantly.
- Lower GI fruits include berries, plums, kiwi fruit and grapefruit.
- Higher GI fruits include bananas, oranges, mango, grapes, raisins, dates and pears.
- Lower GI vegetables include lettuce, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and peppers.
- Higher GI vegetables include carrots, potatoes, parsnips, beetroots and sweetcorn.
10 Low Glycemic Fruits for Diabetes Management
Managing your diabetes doesn’t have to mean restricting yourself from foods that you love. While you should avoid things that are high in excess sugar, processed foods, and trans fats, as long as you’re eating well 80-90% of the time you will be able to manage your diabetes efficiently. To help you keep your diabetes under control, one of the best things you can do is opt for foods that have a low-glycemic index. If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, here are the top 10 low-glycemic fruits to eat for diabetes management.
Understanding the Glycemic Index
The glycemic index (GI) was developed as a way to help people with diabetes eat healthier and manage their blood sugar levels more efficiently. It’s a tool that gives a score to each type of food based on carbohydrates and how they affect your blood sugar. To better understand GI values and how they affect you, whether you’re living with diabetes or not, it’s important to look at how your body processes carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are a macronutrient found in foods. There are three primary types of carbs: sugars, starches, and fiber. When consuming something that has carbs, your body begins to break it down for processing and nutrient absorption. Sugars and starches are broken down into glucose, which is what your cells use for energy. Fiber is not broken down and instead, passes through your body. Insulin then helps to transfer glucose from your blood into your cells, so they receive the energy from your food. Glucagon helps to release glucose that’s stored in your liver when your blood sugar is low. This entire process is what helps keeps your body fueled, both inside and out. The thing that sets low-glycemic carbs apart from high-glycemic carbs is how quickly your body digests them and therefore, the speed at which glucose enters your bloodstream.
Foods that have a low GI raise your blood sugar slowly, which is important for healthy diabetes management. Since it’s still a good practice to count your carb intake and eat for nutrition, you should look at meals as a whole when trying to make the best decisions for ongoing health.
There are a number of different factors that can influence the GI of a food or meal. The type of sugar that the food contains is a big factor. Sugar from fruit is processed much differently than artificial sugars. So, make sure you know what kind of sugar you’re consuming when calculating GI. The way a certain starch is structured also affects your body’s ability to digest it. Foods that have amylose are more difficult to digest, thus lowering their GI. Processing carbs changes the structure of the molecules, which raises the GI and adding protein or healthy fat can lower the GI of the meal as a whole.
What is a Low-Glycemic Diet?
A low-glycemic diet is when you’re consuming a majority of foods that have a GI of about 1 to 55. While this might seem difficult, small differences in food make a huge difference. For example, white wheat flour has a much higher GI than whole-wheat flour, but both can be used for bread products and baking. It should be noted that there are some constraints to the GI values, which is why you should also consider the glycemic load (GL). The GL is an indication of how much a certain food will change your blood glucose levels, therefore, it’s useful to look at both when planning your diet.
Some of the best low-glycemic foods include green vegetables, raw carrots, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, and many types of fruits. Higher GI foods include white rice, potatoes, and white bread. For healthy meals, try these scrumptious diabetes friendly recipes.
Low-glycemic foods can also help you maintain a healthy weight, control your blood glucose levels more efficiently, lower your cholesterol, and help improve appetite control.
10 Low-Glycemic Fruits to Eat for Diabetes Management
Fruits are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. While many fruits have a low GI, some are better than others. To help improve your diabetes management, here are some of the best fruits to incorporate into your diet.
All berries are good for people with diabetes as they have lower amounts of sugar than other fruits and lots of fiber. Strawberries have a GI of 41 and have more vitamin C than an entire orange. You can eat strawberries on their own, add them to smoothies or salads, and use them for desserts. Strawberries are rich in antioxidants and can be grown in your garden.
Plums have a GI of 40 and are an excellent source of potassium, copper, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, and K. While plums are filled with antioxidants, they can be hard to find ripe or without bruises. You can alternate fresh plums with prunes, but make sure that you’re mindful of portions.
Pears have a GI of 38 and have over 20% of your recommended daily fiber. They’re great on their own or can be baked into a delicious dessert.
Peaches are packed with vitamin C and A, iron, potassium, and have a GI of 42. They’re great when eaten alone or can be used to cook a delicious meal. If you’re going to use canned peaches, just be diligent when reading the ingredients and avoid anything that includes added sugar, which will drastically increase the GI.
Oranges are best known for their high amounts of vitamin C, which contributes to a healthy immune system, but they’re also filled with antioxidants. Oranges have over 170 phytochemicals and more than 60 flavonoids, which act as powerful anti-inflammatory agents. Oranges have a GI of 40 and are a great mid-day snack.
Grapes are a low-glycemic option and due to the high amounts of skin, they’re packed with fiber. They have a GI of 53 and are an excellent source of vitamin B-6, which is essential for brain function and stabilizing mood.
Grapefruit makes for a perfect on-the-go breakfast. With high amounts of vitamin C and plenty of healthy fiber, they’ll help keep your body healthy and strong by fighting off illness. To enjoy grapefruit’s low GI of 25, it’s important to eat them as is and avoid putting excess sugar on top. If you find them to be too tart, there are plenty of other alternatives to choose from. Before adding grapefruit to your diet, talk to your doctor about potential interactions with any medication you’re currently taking.
8. Dried Apricots
It’s best to avoid too much dried fruit, as they can be packed with carbohydrates. However, when eaten in moderation, dried apricots are a great option as they have a GI of only 32. If you’re able to find fresh apricots, the GI is the same and a portion will likely fill you up more. They’re packed with essential vitamins and minerals like copper, vitamin A and E, and make sweet additions to salad, trail mix, and even pork entrees.
Cherries have a GI of 20 and a GL of about 6. Not only are they effective in keeping your blood sugar low, but they’re also filled with antioxidants, immune boosting vitamins, and are great for snacking. Since cherries aren’t in season for very long, you can always find a canned alternative. As long as you opt for tart canned cherries with no added sugar, you’ll reap the same benefits.
Apples are one of the most popular fruits and for good reason. They’re filled with fiber that will keep you full yet satisfy your sweet tooth. Apples are also great for balancing your gut microbe and have a GI score of 39.
Diabetes is a chronic, complex disease that affects millions of people around the world. If you’re living with diabetes, your body has a harder time processing sugars and therefore your blood sugar levels can vary in dangerous ways. To make sure you’re eating to help lower your blood sugar, try filling your diet with more low-glycemic foods.
Living with diabetes doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy what you eat. Just remember that you need to actively monitor your blood glucose levels and opt for healthy, low-glycemic foods more often than not. To help you track your blood sugar levels, Byram Healthcare can provide you with the latest technology in diabetes management, including continuous glucose monitoring. For more information and added support on diabetes management, sign up for Byram Healthcare’s Caring Touch At Home™ Program.
If you have questions about managing your diabetes or using your products, get in touch with Byram’s Diabetes Center of Excellence today.
Do Diabetics Benefit from Low Glycemic Diet?
- Low-GI foods show meaningful reductions in blood sugar levels (HbA1c) compared with higher-GI/GL control diets
- Vegetables, most fruits, pulses and wholegrains are some of the low-GI foods
- Consuming a low glycemic diet can also reduce the risk of heart disease in diabetics
People with diabetes who follow a low glycemic diet were found to show small but important improvements in their blood sugar & cholesterol levels, weight and other risk factors, reveals a new study published by The BMJ today.
These improvements were seen over and above existing drug or insulin therapy, suggesting that a low glycemic diet might be especially helpful as add-on treatment to help those with diabetes better achieve their targets, say the researchers.
‘Low glycemic diet can also lower other risk factors such as fasting glucose, LDL cholesterol, body weight, and C-reactive protein, but not blood insulin levels, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference, or blood pressure.’
The glycemic index (GI) rates how quickly different foods affect blood sugar levels and research has shown that low-GI foods, such as vegetables, most fruits, pulses and wholegrains, can help keep blood sugar levels steady and reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.
A low GI or GL (glycemic load) diet is therefore recommended for people with diabetes by clinical guidelines across the world. However, the last European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) guidelines were published over 15 years ago and several trials have been published since then.
So researchers set out to summaries the effect of low GI/GL dietary patterns on blood sugar control and other known risk factors in diabetes to help inform the update of the EASD guidelines for nutrition treatment.
Their results are based on 27 randomized controlled trials published up to May 2021 investigating the effect of diets with low GI/GL in diabetes for three or more weeks.
The trials involved a total of 1,617 participants with type 1 or 2 diabetes, who were predominantly middle aged, overweight or obese with moderately controlled type 2 diabetes treated with drugs or insulin.
The trials were of varying quality, but the researchers were able to assess the certainty of evidence using the recognized GRADE system.
The results show that low-GI/GL dietary patterns were associated with small but clinically meaningful reductions in blood sugar levels (HbA1c) compared with higher-GI/GL control diets.
Reductions also occurred in other risk factors including fasting glucose (blood sugar levels after a period of fasting), LDL cholesterol, body weight, and C-reactive protein (a chemical associated with inflammation), but not blood insulin levels, HDL cholesterol, waist circumference, or blood pressure.
The certainty of evidence was high for reduction in blood sugar levels and moderate for most other outcomes, suggesting the available evidence provides a good indication of the likely benefit in this population.
The researchers point to some limitations that may have affected their results, such as imprecision in the evidence for the effect of low GI/GL dietary patterns on LDL cholesterol and waist circumference, and the small number of available trial comparisons for blood pressure and inflammatory markers.
However, they say their findings show that low GI/GL dietary patterns “are considered an acceptable and safe dietary strategy that can produce small meaningful reductions in the primary target for glycemic control in diabetes, HbA1c, fasting glucose, and other established cardiometabolic risk factors.”
“Our synthesis supports existing recommendations for the use of low GI/GL dietary patterns in the management of diabetes,” they conclude.