Diabetes is a very common disease, a medical burden for the society. In order to control blood sugar well, in addition to using hypoglycemic drugs and proper activity and exercise regimen, nutrition plays a very important role. The glycemic index (GI) of food – an important indicator in food choices for people with diabetes!.
In the diet for people with diabetes, most of us know the first rule is to limit eating foods belonging to the group of glucides (starches, sugars). However, not all glucide foods, when ingested, raise blood sugar equally but depend on an index called the glycemic index of the food. So, what is the glycemic index of a food? Is it a glycemic index on diabetic blood test sheets?. How to choose foods based on the GI that are good for diabetics? This information is extremely useful for patients who have been or are at risk of diabetes!.
1. What is Glycemic Index?
The glycemic index, abbreviated GI (glycemic index) is an index reflecting the rate of rapid or slow rise in blood sugar after eating foods with rich in carbohydrates. Accordingly, the GI of a food will be classified as: Low, medium or high.
Foods with a high GI usually contain rapidly absorbed glucose. That means that after eating these foods, the blood glucose level spikes very quickly, but also falls rapidly later. Meanwhile, low GI foods will be better because blood sugar levels are raised slowly, steadily rising and also slowly, helping to keep a stable blood sugar levels, more beneficial energy for health and brain.
For diabetics, the consumption of foods with a low glycemic index will make blood sugar easier to control because blood sugar will rise slowly after eating rather than spike suddenly. In addition, foods with a low glycemic index also improve lipid metabolism, especially for type 2 diabetes.
Specifically, the safe glycemic index according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is:
Before meals: 90 – 130mg / dl (5.0-7.2mmol / l);
- After meals 1-2 hours: <180mg / dl (10mmol / l);
- Before going to bed: 110 – 150mg / dl (6.0 – 8.3mmol / l).
2. How should diabetics choose food base on Glycemic Index?
Patients with diabetes should choose low GI foods. The glycemic index is often used to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar effectively. GI of a food is classified into 3 categories: low, medium and high.
- Foods with a high GI (70 and above) mean that they can raise blood sugar quickly
- The average GI is normally 56-69.
- Low GI (≤ 55) are foods that steadily increase blood sugar levels and also decrease slowly, thereby keeping a stable energy source, which is very beneficial for the health of diabetics.
Diabetic patients should choose foods with a balance of fiber and carbohydrates to help stabilize blood sugar after eating. The higher the GI, the higher the chance of a postprandial hyperglycemia.
– For foods with a low GI of ≤ 55, diabetics need not limit their use (such as green vegetables, unsweetened fruits, high fiber) … This food group helps to absorb sugar into blood is slower, postprandial blood sugar increases more slowly and steadily, so it doesn’t cause serious consequences.
– For foods with a GI of ≥ 70 that are considered foods capable of causing high blood sugar after eating, use should be limited (such as sugar, carbonated beverages, dried fruit … ); foods with a GI of 56-69 are foods that cause moderate hyperglycemia, should only be used in moderation (like some fruits …).
3. Foods that help stabilize blood sugar (low Glycemic Index foods)
Here are some foods that help stabilize blood sugar:
– Grapefruit (GI – 25): This is the “number 1” fruit in terms of vitamin C. In each grapefruit contains enzymes that help absorb sugar, thereby reducing the amount of stored fat from the converted to sugar.
– Fresh milk (GI – 40): Drinking 1 cup of fresh milk will control the activity of the cholesterol-constituting enzymes, thereby limiting cholesterol generation.
– Soy milk (GI – 43): These are amino acids that are able to maintain and strengthen the immune system, while reducing cholesterol and glycemic index.
– Apricot juice (GI – 57): Apricots contain ingredients that help to accelerate oxygen metabolism, slow down the aging process and accelerate the recovery of cells.
– Tomatoes (GI – 30): Tomatoes not only help stabilize blood sugar, but also can help with weight loss effectively.
– Apple juice (GI – 15): In apples contains pectin soluble fiber that helps to keep water and clean the intestines, support digestion, and keep the balance of microflora in the intestines and intestines reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
– Peaches (GI – 50): Peaches contain abundant fiber, which improves the digestive system, helps the stomach work more efficiently, and also inhibits the absorption of fat, helps not gain weight.
– Oat porridge (GI – 50): Having a low GI is good for controlling the glycemic index of diabetics, oat porridge also provides a large amount of protein and fiber, promoting digestive system works better.
– Kiwi (GI – 50): In 1 kiwifruit contains 4 grams of fiber and abundant vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for the body and are very safe for blood sugar control.
There are many factors that affect a food’s glycemic index including the amount of sugar, the type of sugar in it, and the cooking and processing of the food. There are several studies showing that the fiber content can serve as an alternative indicator for the glycemic index of foods. High-fiber foods, especially soluble ones, have a low glycemic index.
4. Some notes when choosing foods
The menu of each meal should have a variety of types, change dishes regularly. Quantity of food just enough for the needs of the body, so as to keep a reasonable weight.
– Meals should contain a variety of food ingredientssuch as carbohydrates, protein (meat, fish, eggs, tofu), fat and fiber (vegetables, beans, corn) that help sugar be absorbed into the bloodstream.
– Should add more green vegetables in the daily diet because green vegetables have more fiber, helping to stabilize the glycemic index.
– Some fish species such as salmon rich in omega-3 fats are very beneficial for the heart of diabetics, helping to prevent cardiovascular complications related to diabetes. Good fats such as MUFA, PUFA, DHA are not only good for the cardiovascular system, but also very good in helping to fight blood pressure or cholesterol diseases.
– It is recommended to use low-fat dairy products, containing palatinose and soluble fiber, which will not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar after eating.
– Some of the specific foods that diabetics should avoid include harmful proteins such as canned meats, processed foods rich in protein, salt and sugar. The same goes for canned fruits that are also foods that diabetics should absolutely avoid. Fast foods, fried chicken, french fries or bacon also make the patient’s blood sugar unstable in the safe range.
Hopefully the above information has helped diabetics to understand their disease as well as pay attention to the right foods in the daily diet to better control blood sugar. Understanding the importance of nutrition in diabetes treatment and choosing the right foods also helps to control the disease well and reduce the risk of dangerous complications.