When it comes to eating healthy, most people only worry about carbs and their carbohydrate intake. However, it is prudent to watch out for your blood sugar levels especially if you are diabetic. One of the most effective ways to monitor your blood sugar level is to keep an eye on the glycemic index of the food you consume.

Dr. David Jenkin in the 1980s created a system of measurement that ranks foods by their impact of the blood sugar level of a person. The Canadian professor was analyzing how various food could either increase or decrease the glucose level in the body. That system of measurement is the Glycemic Index.

THREE RANGES OF GLYCEMIC INDEX FOOD LIST CHART

  • LOW:1 to 55

  • MEDIUM:56 to 69

  • HIGH: 70 to 100.

Food high on the glycemic index releases glucose rapidly, while food low on the glycemic index tends to foster weight loss. Foods with a high glycemic index help with energy recovery after exercises or offset hypoglycemia (Insufficient glucose). Long-distance runners tend to favor foods with a high glycemic index.

People with diabetes should know their normal glucose range. The recommendation is that they should concentrate on low GI foods but it can vary depending on the diabetes type.

TYPES OF DIABETES

Diabetes is a condition when the pancreas doesn’t synthesize enough insulin that the body requires. A diabetic condition can occur when the body isn’t utilizing the insulin produced. In such situations, the body won’t be able to absorb sugar into the cells from the bloodstream. There are three major types of diabetes namely;

  • Type 1

  • Type 2

  • and Gestational diabetes.

TYPE 1 DIABETES

It is a type of diabetes that attacks the immune system. It destroys the active cells present in the pancreas and stops the production of insulin. When the body doesn’t receive a sufficient amount of insulin, the blood sugar level rises. it mostly affects children and younger adults below 40 years.

TYPE 2 DIABETES

With type 2 diabetes, your body fights against insulin and resulting in inefficient usage. The pancreas continues to produce insulin that goes to waste, then the body wears out and stops production. When the production of insulin stops, the level of blood sugar in the body increases. It is common with adults over the age of 40 years.

GESTATIONAL DIABETES

It is a type of diabetes that affects pregnant women. During pregnancy, an insulin blocking hormone is released and it stops the pancreas from producing insulin.

SYMPTOMS OF DIABETES

Diabetes like every other condition exhibits different symptoms that vary between mild and severe. Common ones include:

Blurry vision

Dark patches on the skin

Itchiness

Uncontrollable thirst and hunger

Weight loss

Slower healing of injuries

TREATMENTS FOR DIABETES

Often times, diabetes treatment depends on type and severity. We recommend you talk to a doctor before any treatment.

  • Type 1 Treatment: The major treatment is insulin supplementation. When injected into the body it provides the insulin the body lacks. There are various types of insulin you can use depending on their time of effect. They include:

Rapid-acting: It takes effect within 15 minutes and can last for 4 hours.

Short-acting: It takes effect within 30 minutes and can last for 8 hours.

Intermediate-acting: It takes effect within 2 hours and can last for 18 hours.

Long-acting: It takes effect in a few hours and can last for more than 24 hours.

  • Type 2 Treatment: Diet changes and prescribed medications are effective treatment options for type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, medications like Biguanides, Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, meglitinides, glucagons, and insulin can bring great relief.

  • Gestational Diabetes Treatment: For this type of diabetes, taking insulin and watching your diets are effective as a treatment. Also, regular exercises can aid recovery.

EFFECTS OF LOW GI

  • It enhances natural weight loss

  • It increases body sensitivity

  • Keeps cholesterol level in check

  • Reduces the risk of heart diseases

  • Helps refuel carbs after intense exercise

EFFECTS OF HIGH GLYCEMIC INDEX

  • It causes cell dysfunction.

  • Increase the production of insulin.

  • Accumulate fatty acid in the body.

  • Raises risk of obesity.

FOOD

White wheat bread

White rice boiled

Brown rice boiled

Sweet corn

Spaghetti white

Rice noodles

CEREALS

GLYCEMIC INDEX

GLYCEMIC LOAD

75+2

10

73+4

43

68+4

16

52+5

20

49+2

22

53+7

FRUITS

INDEX

GLYCEMIC LOAD

Apple

36+2

6

orange

43+3

4

banana

51+3

16

pineapple

59+8

watermelon

76+4

4

dates

42+4

18

peaches

43+5

5

mango

51+5

Strawberry jam

49+3

Vegetable

Glycemic index

Glycemic load

Potato, French fry

63+5

21

Carrot boiled

39+4

2

Sweet potato

63+6

22

pumpkin

64+7

plantain

55+6

Vegetable soup

48+5

GLYCEMIC LOAD

It is the measurement of the quantity of food being consumed. it measures both the quality and quantity of fatty food (carbs). It multiplies the number of grams and the number of carbohydrates and divides the number by 100.

GLYCEMIC LOAD VALUES

  • LOW GL:1 to 10

  • MEDIUM GL:11 to 19

  • HIGH GL: 20 or more.

cornflakes

81+6

23

Wheat flake biscuit

69+2

14

porridge

35+2

17

muesli

57+2

16

Beverages

Glycemic index

Glycemic load

Coca-Cola

63

16

Fanta, orange drink

68

23

Lucozade

95+10

40

Apple juice

44

30

Gatorade

78

12

Cranberry

68

24

Tomato juice

38

4

GLYCEMIC LOAD RESPONSE

After eating a meal, the digestible or available carbohydrates are absorbed into the bloodstream. Hence, resulting in an increase in blood glucose concentration. GLYCEMIC LOAD RESPONSE is the magnitude of the rise and fall of blood glucose as well as the duration it occurs.

The glycemic effects of foods depend on a number of factors like starch(Amylose vs. Amylopectin). Foods could have the same glycemic load but trigger different insulin responses in the body. Both the glycemic index and glycemic load are defined by the carbohydrate content in foods. Fruits and vegetables have a low glycemic index. It can also be applied only to where the test relies on the subject consuming the amount of food.

FACTOR THAT GLYCEMIC INDEX IN FOODS TAKEN

  • Cooking tends to raise GI: The same type of pasta will have a lower GI if a person cooks it to the point of softness.

  • Riper foods usually have higher GI: The more ripe a fruit is, the higher its GI.

  • Processing raises GI: Fruits juice typically has a higher GI than whole fruit.

  • Eating fibers lowers the GI of a meal: The food a person eats together can affect the GI.

People who are obese, with a child, overweight, or diabetic should try to stick to a low GI diet. The glycative stress sets up a vicious cycle of systematic protein glycation. It compromises the protein editing capacity involving the Ubiquitin proteolysis pathway and autographic pathways which causes accumulation of glycated and other obsolete proteins.

Note: Postprandial hyperglycemia is a risk factor associated with diabetes.

WAYS TO LOWER BLOOD SUGAR LEVEL

  • Exercise regularly

  • Control your carbs intake

  • Increase fiber intake

  • Keep a diet of food with low GI

  • Always be hydrated

  • Ration your food intake

  • Control stress level

  • Monitor blood sugar

  • Quality sleep

  • Include apple cider vinegar into your meal plan

  • You can try having a cinnamon extract

  • Food with a high content of magnesium and chromium will be good for you.

  • Try bebeerine

  • Eat fenugreek seed

  • Lose some weight

CHROMIUM: It is a mineral that you need in small amounts. It enhances the action of insulin. Also, it helps to regulate any sudden changes in sugar levels by stimulating your cells to absorb sugar.

MAGNESIUM: It is another mineral that has been linked to blood sugar control. People can be given magnesium supplements with lifestyle advice. The combination of the two increases insulin sensitivity more than each supplement alone. Rich foods sources of magnesium are spinach, almonds, avocados, cashew, and peanuts.

CINNAMON: It has shown to increase insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar spikes following a carbs-based meal.

TYPES OF CINNAMON

  • Cassia: It is the type most commonly found in supermarket, harmful substances in cassia cinnamon is coumarin.

  • Ceylon: It is more expensive but may contain more antioxidants.

  • Fenugreek: It has one property the seed is high in soluble fiber; it slows down the digestion and absorption of the carbs. Fenugreek leaves mixed with water reduces blood sugar level after eating by 13.4% compared to the placebo in two hours, it is preferable like a supplement.

  • Berberine: It reduces the amount of sugar produced by the liver and increases insulin sensitivity, it is effective as drugs used for type-2 diabetes.

RANGES OF BLOOD SUGAR

  • People without diabetes 70-99mg/dl (4.4-7.2mmol/l).

  • People with diabetes: 80-13mg/dl (4.4-7.2mmol/l)

It is crucial to log your glucose levels. You can track your levels with an app, paper, logbook, or a spreadsheet. Also, remember that after eating your blood sugar can either increase or decrease.

CONCLUSION

We have been able to deduce that the glycemic index is an important value since it measures the rate at which certain food contents like carbohydrates increase the blood glucose level. Consuming high GI foods results in increased blood glucose concentration while low GI foods lead to reduced blood glucose concentration. The GI value itself is not 100% effective. It is limited by the fact that it can’t measure the quantity of a particular food that would be needed to be consumed and that was why the glycemic load value was developed to aid this limitation.

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