Low-glycemic diets for diabetics and other people watching their blood sugar levels can be beneficial to for the body in many ways.
The low-glycemic diet is based on the inner workings of the Glycemic Index (GI), which measures the effects of food on a person’s blood sugar level according to each food item’s individual composition of carbohydrates, fat, etc. Following a low-glycemic (low-GI) diet can save diabetics from going into dangerous blood sugar swings and can help others manage their weight, blood pressure and other important health concerns.
Every food item has a place in the GI system and can be eaten to balance a person’s blood sugar level either up or down as needed. Some foods, like whole grain bread and applies, are ideal for lowering a person’s blood sugar while other foods, like watermelon and most popular cereal brands, should be avoided on a low-GI diet. Keep reading for more information about how to follow a low-GI diet to start seeing some of its positive benefits in no time.
A low-glycemic diet is based on limiting how much glucose enters a person’s system. Glucose refers to the sugar that most foods are partially transformed into when entering our bloodstreams. Glucose is primarily found in carbohydrates and is an essential part of a health diet, in the correct proportions. Too much glucose in the blood can lead to a host of health problems. The GI measure was established in the 1980s by Dr. David Jenkins, who began ranking different foods based on how much glucose would be created in the body after consumption. ‘
In the GI, foods are rated based on how much they raise a person’s blood sugar level, as compared to a standard rate of absorption for 50 grams of pure glucose. The GI ranks food according to the following values:
Unfortunately, this basic ranking system does not take into account portion sizes. Some foods with relatively high GI ratings can still be consumed without concern in small to normal size quantities, for example. As a response, some dieticians use a Glycemic Load (GL) index to rank foods by the GI per individual serving size, moving watermelon, for instance, from a GI food to avoid in general to a category of food that can be consumed in smaller portions even by those on a low-GI diet.
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Doctors and researchers have found many benefits to following a low-glycemic diet. Type II diabetics can benefit significantly from this sort of eating plan to maintain their blood sugar levels without medication. Some of the most common benefits of a low-GI diet include:
Research has shown that managing the total amount of glucose consumed with a low-GI can be the best tool for managing blood sugar levels for those with either form of diabetes.
Long-term studies have shown that eating foods higher on the GI index tends to lead to higher weight averages that for those who followed a lower GI diet. Some studies have even down that a low-glycemic diet can promote weight loss.
Several research trials have found that a low-GI diet can help to consistently lower cholesterol levels in addition to the particularly dangerous group of cholesterol molecules known as low-density lipoproteins, especially when paired with a high intake of fiber.
Although the exact mechanism is unclear, a low-GI diet seems to stabilize appetite by minimizing large fluctuations in blood sugar that can cause havoc on weight maintenance.
While the exact GI rating of many foods varies across different studies, it is generally agreed which types of foods are higher on the GI scale and which are lower. The following seven types of food are often suggested for people following a low-glycemic diet:
Not all foods in the above categories are low on the GI, with rankings sometimes changing even just based on the cooking method used to prepare the food. The following commonly eaten foods should be avoided by those following a low-GI diet:
Because different ranking systems have found different values for the same foods, individuals who would like to follow a low-GI diet should choose one recognized index to base all of their food ratings on to maintain relativity between foods. The abovementioned categories include only examples of the foods that should be consumed or avoided when doing a low-GI diet, but many more foods can be consumed as part of a recommended low-GI diet.
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