Have you ever wondered what the best food is to eat to keep your Blood Sugar Levels (BGL) stable?
Well stop wondering, here’s some good news as research has uncovered the benefits of low GI diets for people with diabetes.
What is GI? You might ask.
In my earlier post, 6 Things You Need to Know About Low GI Foods , I spoke with an expert at the Glycemic Index (GI) Foundation, who shed light on what all the hype was about.
Here is the latest low-GI foods.
What’s so good about low GI diets for diabetes?
Low GI foods such as some breads, pasta (cooked al dente), Clever Rice and quinoa are higher in protein and fibre, and starches that are slowly digested by the body.
- The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to how much they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after they’re eaten.
- High GI foods (GI of 70 or above) are quickly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels. Low GI foods (GI of 55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and therefore usually, lower insulin levels too.
- Foods with a low GI rating are great for anyone, but particularly for people with diabetes, as they help to maintain stable blood glucose levels.
New low GI range launched
The Glycemic Index Foundation (GIF) recently announced the world’s first low-GI, profit-for-purpose food brand called GiLICIOUS.
A not-for-profit health promotion charity, the GIF is supported by The University of Sydney and Diabetes NSW & ACT.
A new lower GI potato, which is also 25% lower in carbohydrate than regular potatoes, was released by the GIF and is available at Woolworths stores across NSW.
You can’t miss them – the pack is green and features the GIF logo and a certification by Diabetes Qualified.
A portion of the profits from packs sold goes to the prevention of diabetes (namely type 2) and obesity.
Type 2 diabetes now affects more 1.1 million Australians, with an estimated 2 million people at high risk of developing the disease.
For more information about the GIF, the benefits of low GI foods, or information on new product launches, visit the GIF website.
Is low GI good for people with type 1 diabetes?
Research shows that low GI diets are beneficial for the management of stable blood sugars.
This is applicable to anyone, but is particularly relevant for people living with pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes, as well as anyone who is overweight or obese.
Low GI diets are also beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes.
Studies of patients with T1D found replacing high-glycemic-index carbohydrates with low-glycemic-index carbohydrates improves blood sugar control and reduces hypos.
The Australian Diabetes Society National Evidence Based Clinical Care Guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes in Children, Adolescents and Adults include evidence for low GI diets; click HERE to find out more.
While low GI diets are beneficial for people with type 1 diabetes, it is worth noting that low-GI diets are typically focused on the quality of the carbohydrate eaten rather than the quantity.
So, even though a product may be low-GI, it doesn’t mean it is low in carbohydrate or that you can eat five times as much. Moderation matters.
This is particularly relevant if you’re calculating insulin dosage.
As Diabetes UK puts it, “The amount of carbohydrate you eat has a bigger effect on blood glucose levels than GI alone.”
Similarly, Nutrition Australia states that, “Eating moderate amounts of low GI carbohydrate foods regularly over the day will help you maintain consistent blood glucose levels.
So for those of us with type 1 diabetes, it’s not just about the GI factor alone, remember …
Moderation + Low GI = stable B.G.L!
The amount of low-GI foods you eat is important. It’s all about getting the right balance.
It’s also worth reading the nutritional label to compare total carbohydrates. Some low GI products can be higher in carbs than other versions. To find out more visit Diabetes UK.
So give low-GI a try and chat with your doctor or dietitian to work out the best diet for your diabetes.
Conflict declaration: I am on the Board of the GI Foundation, but I have not been paid for this article or influenced by any organisational views. This article has been written by me and it reflects my own personal views.
Credit: GiLICIOUS photo supplied by Megann Evans Photography.