Glycemic index of a food is one of the major factors to consider in selecting the type of food diabetics should eat. Generally, macronutrients like carbohydrates, fats and proteins have varying glycemic indices with carbohydrates being the highest.
WHAT IS GLYCEMIC INDEX?
GLYCEMIC index is a function of the rate at which glucose is released into the blood stream after being digested in the intestine.
Foods with high glycemic index release glucose rapidly into the blood stream while foods with low glycemic index release glucose slowly into the blood stream after digestion.
Therefore, diabetics should eat foods that have a Low glycemic index so as to reduce the risk of post-prandial hyperglycemia (high blood glucose after eating).
WHAT ARE THE EXAMPLES OF LOW GLYCEMIC FOODS?
- High fibre foods: They are very essential low carbohydrate foods that promotes the digestive processes in the gut and modulate the release of glucose into the blood stream. Examples are spinach, lettuce and green vegetables.
- Low fat foods: Food items containing adequate amount of unsaturated fats do not increase the blood level of bad cholesterol(Low density cholesterol)thereby promoting tissue sensitivity to insulin. Examples of low fat food items are vegetable oil, olive oil and avocado.
- Proteins: These are low
carbohydrate containingfoods and they do not affect the blood glucose . Examplesare lean meats, fish, beans andGreek yoghurt. Low caloriedrinks: Water is the most appropriate fluid for diabetics and can be flavored by squeezing some slices of oranges and lemon into a glass of water. Also, low fatmilk and sugar freefruit juices can be taken but sparingly.
- Melons/Berries: It contains
hugeamount of minerals, nutrients and fibrethat are beneficial to diabetics. These are ideal fruits for diabetics.
HIGH GLYCEMIC FOODS TO AVOID
- Carbohydrates: Processed grains such as white rice, white flour, white bread and French fries.
- Vegetables: Canned vegetables and vegetables with cheese and butter.
- Fruits: Canned fruits and sugary fruit drinks.
- Proteins: Fried meat, Pork bacon, deep fried fish, whole milk.
- Fats/oil: Trans and hydrogenated fats are not recommended.
Your diet plays a vital role in the long term control of your blood glucose. Following a diet plan will be very essential in achieving a steady blood glucose level.
Seeking professional help from a dietitian in designing a diabetic nutritional plan will ensure that you have the right quantity and mixture of healthy foods at regular intervals daily