Facing the Diabetic Ordeal with Low Glycemic Food List

Diet is one of the most important pillars in the management of diabetes. In particular, a low glycemic index diet is prescribed. Glycemic index (GI) is the value assigned to each food based on how fast it can generate a glycemic response or an elevation in the blood glucose level. It has a range of 1 to 100 with 100 being the GI of glucose. With the problem at hand, a systematic approach is important. This calls for the planning of meals according to a low glycemic food list.

The Systematic Approach: Low Glycemic Meal Plans

Let’s face it. The first challenge when confronted with the ordeal is the lifestyle change that needs to be integrated in a person’s life. Very busy people tend to neglect their personal needs especially their health’s warning signs. What makes for an easy integration of all these changes in one’s lifestyle? Meal planning.

Step 1 – Do the research.

The task gets easier with knowledge. Many times people assume that they already understand everything there is to know after a consultation with the doctor. It is true that it is good to pay attention to what the doctor has to say, but the doctor can’t say everything in a session. One has to empower oneself by reading. These days, it is quite easy to learn more about GI and access low glycemic food list from the Internet. Once you have understood the concept, it is just a matter of time before you gain the mastery of preparing low GI meals.

Step 2 – Make the plan.

• The most tedious thing to do is to prepare a meal where many ingredients are lacking. Preparing can be a breeze when you know ahead of time what you are to prepare and where to get all that you need from ingredients to food preparation tools.
• The easiest to do is a 7-day meal plan to tide you over until your next free day.
• Keep the meals easy to prepare, exciting, innovative, and rich in flavor so you can enjoy each meal. Choose low GI ingredients.
• If including some meals that require meticulous preparations, schedule these in the dinner or weekends when you have more free time.
• Otherwise, prepare these in advance and then re-heat before you bring this to work or eat it some other day when you are too busy to cook.

Step 3 – Draw the food list.

Making the plan is also important in order to prepare your own low glycemic food list. A grocery list can be derived from it so that buying from the grocery is a breeze. This is something that can motivate people to stick to a low GI diet. Going to the grocery without a list will not only eat up too much time as you comb each rack, you will also keep on going back and forth each lane because you missed out something. Not knowing what meals and dishes to prepare will tend to make you buy ingredients that you may not be using after all or miss out some essentials.

Step 4 – Prepare foods that can prepared in advance.

Try to use researched recipes that allow you to prepare certain meals in advance that you can reheat and take to work. Cooking using fresh ingredients as against canned or processed ones make for lower GI meals.

No one ever said that being a diabetic or sticking to low GI diet is easy. Nevertheless, when the inevitable happens, you must brace up and face your health issues squarely so that the symptoms will not get too complicated. It only takes understanding the concept of glycemic index, some tools like a low glycemic food list and meal plans, and big dose of due diligence to overcome the ordeal.

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Get Familiar with Low Glycemic Vegetables

Having Type 2 diabetes is a signal that there is something wrong with one’s lifestyle – inadequate exercise and poor diet. The diagnosis should be enough to send you into squeezing some physical activities in your daily routine and tweaking your diet. It is not enough that you just eat more vegetables and fruits. It is important to understand about glycemic index –low glycemic vegetables, fruits and other foods.

Generally, fruits and vegetables are healthy inclusions in a diet. For a diabetic, however, the diet must not only be replete of all the important nutrients, it must also have a low glycemic index (GI). Low glycemic vegetables and fruits are those that contain high amounts of fiber and are not starchy.

Non-starchy Vegetables

These vegetables are also called as “free foods.” They are referred to as free foods because these are virtually free of carbohydrates. For instance, to get 50 grams of carbohydrates from these non-starchy vegetables, you have to consume at least 20 cups of broccoli. Even after consuming these vegetables, they can insignificantly elevate the blood glucose.

Aside from broccoli, vegetables that contain GI less than 20 are asparagus, bean sprouts, beet greens, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, endive lettuce, mustard greens, radish, spinach, Swiss chard, and watercress.

There are also non-starchy vegetables that have high GI like tomatoes, leeks, onions, peppers, string beans, okra, parsley, Brussels sprouts, dandelion leaves, and collards.

Starchy Vegetables

Not all veggies are born equal; some of these innocent looking vegetables are loaded with carbohydrates in the form of starch. These vegetables have high glycemic index as a rule. Almost all root crops have high GI such as yam, sweet potato, potato, beets and carrots. Other starchy vegetables are actually fruits like squash or seeds like corn. Legumes usually have medium GI (higher than 20 but lower than 40), but some have high GI (higher than 50) especially the canned beans like kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans and peas. If a diabetic wants to consume legumes, go for fresh/dried that are cooked by boiling.

Tweaking your Veggies

Do you know that there are ways and considerations that can affect the glycemic index of various foodstuffs? For instance, acids can affect the glycemic index of vegetables and fruits. Adding the acidic extracts from lemon or lime does not only prevent the oxidation (browning of apples, eggplants, potatoes) of fruits and vegetables, it can also lower the glycemic index of these foods. The explanation for this is when acid is added on a meal, it is digested more slowly. Thus, the carbohydrate is more slowly broken down and the sugar is more slowly released into the blood stream. In effect, the glycemic index is reduced.

The manner of food preparation can seriously affect the glycemic index of foods in general. This is why even low glycemic vegetables like certain legumes can have higher GI when they are canned. For diabetics who want to stick to a general rule for easy remembering, it is important to note that the more processed foods are, the higher is the GI. Therefore, it is always best to consume those that are fresh or least cooked or processed.

Vegetables are great dietary sources of nutrients for a healthy body. The diabetics, however, do not need much carbohydrate because their bodies are incapable of handling it. Either it is because their pancreas is not producing enough insulin (hormone that lowers blood sugar level) or the body cells have become resistant to insulin. This means that not all vegetables are right for a diabetic. Low glycemic vegetables are the ones that are ideal for them. It is important to know what these are to be able to eat and live healthy.

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The Fundamentals of the Low Glycemic Diet

A diabetic diet can most amazingly do wonders to control the blood sugar level; this is called the “glycemic index diet,” “GI diet,” or “low glycemic diet.” This is not just the basis of many popular diets for diabetics, this is also the basis of diet for those people who want to lose or manage their weight. Some examples include the South Beach, Glucose Revolution, Sugar Busters, Nutrisystem, The Zone, and Ending the Food Fight.

Understanding the Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is one of several metrics that is used to measure carbohydrates or short-term or quick increases in blood sugar/glucose levels following a consumption of carbohydrate-containing food. The measurement of the GI is set at 100, which is the glycemic index of glucose. Foods are typically regarded to have low GI when the value is less than 55, moderate when the GI is 56-69, and high when it has a value of 70.

All carbohydrate-containing food can trigger an increase in the GI in the blood glucose, but the rise can be quicker on some foods. For instance, a bottle of soda can raise the blood sugar faster than a bowl of oatmeal because the latter digests slower for its fiber. The response depends on more factors like the quantity of food, the cooking method, the kind and degree of preparation/ processing.

The Value of Glycemic Index

Glucose is the body’s immediate source of energy that is metabolized during glycolysis in the human cells. This fuels the generation of energy in the form of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) to power up cells in the brain, muscles, and other organs.

A low glycemic diet is a diet that is based on controlling blood sugar that works both for diabetics and those people who want to manage their body weight. The metric is based on foods that generate low glycemic response. This does not only help manage diabetes, it also helps in the management of cholesterol that also reduces the risks of coronary diseases.

How would one know which foods have high or low GI values? Generally, quickly digestible foods have a high GI, while slow digesting foods have a lower GI. Foods that are harder to digest prolong satiety and can maintain blood glucose at a relatively constant state. On the other hand, foods that are digested fast and which have high glycemic index can trigger extreme fluctuations in the blood sugar.

Foods with Low Glycemic Index

Diabetics and people concerned with weight management must look into certain factors that can influence their glycemic index. Here is a simple guideline that is quite easy to remember:

• Low glycemic foods contain:

1. Fat
2. Whole grains
3. Protein
4. Raw Starches
5. Legumes
6. Vegetables and Fruits
7. Dairy Products.

• High Glycemic Foods contain:

1. Refined grains
2. Refined sugars
3. Increased amylopectin: amylose ratio
4. High sugar fruits

Other dynamics can influence the glycemic index of foods. The plant variety, food processing, cooking method and whether the food is eaten singly or combined with other foods are just some of these factors. To date, there is no requirement to indicate the glycemic index of a packed food product so that it is not easy to ascertain the glycemic index of foods. Making substitution from a high glycemic index diet to a low glycemic diet can actually be easy with conscious effort. Preferring while grain breads over white bread and pastas, eating breakfast cereals made from bran, oats or barley, and adding more fruits and vegetables can all help in lowering glycemic index.

For people who are predisposed to diabetes and obesity, sticking to low glycemic diet is a critical decision and a big step towards advancing to a healthy life. It gets easy as one gets the benefits of the diet and the hang of it.

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Things to Know About Low Glycemic Fruits

Fruits make great desserts because they are luscious and sweet. Yes, sweet. Does that mean that fruits must be marked as “forbidden” for diabetics? That actually depends on the glycemic index (GI) of the fruits. Low glycemic fruits are considered ideal for diabetics. So, a little sweetness won’t do much damage.

But, because fruits are generally sweet or starchy, one must be careful in choosing which fruit they will consume. What are some important guidelines to abide when choosing low glycemic fruits?

Get oriented with GI. This is a measure of how fast certain food raises the blood sugar level. It is important to keep the sugar level constant because fluctuations can make the body cells become resistant to insulin. Thus, even when the pancreas can still produce and secrete enough insulin, the cells are not responding to it anymore. Many diets that weight watchers use are anchored on the glycemic index such as the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, and the Zone Diet.

Fresh fruits are the best. It is important to consider that the fruits with low GI may have increased GI after these are processed, sweetened and canned or bottled. It is always best to stick to fresh fruits eaten as a meal, dessert or for smoothie and juice.

Fiber. Fiber found in fruits and vegetables make them harder to digest. The slow digestibility of fruits also makes for slow absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. This explains why fibrous fruits tend to be low on the GI.

Cherries. These have a GI of 22, the lowest among the fruits. Cherries are rich in fiber and even contain some protein that makes it slow to digest. They are also high in their antioxidant value. Cherries make delicious garnish in many dishes and salads. Make it a habit to use it as a garnish to have it on a daily basis.

Berries. These fruits have GI of low to mid – 20’s. Almost all berries like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, salmon berries, huckleberries, and gooseberries are bursting with minerals, antioxidants, vitamins and lots of fibers. A good dose is about half a cup to one cup daily. These can be eaten fresh as desserts, as a side dish or as garnish to green salads and courses

Fruits with pectin. These fruits such as apples, peaches, plums, pears do not have a very low GI; it may range from 30s to 40s. But, the pectin that is most closely concentrated in the skin make these fruits high in fiber. Food preparations that tend to concentrate these fruits like apple butter or peach preserves, jams and jellies are generally higher on the GI. These stone fruits that are preserved in heavy syrup can even have as much as 64 on the GI. These are smart sources of vitamin C. Avoid nectarines that are like mangoes and papayas with high GI.

Citrus Fruits. Generally citrus fruits are sweet and have high GI except for grapefruit (GI of 25) and oranges (GI of 44). As a rule, the sweeter the citrus fruit, the higher is the GI except for citrus fruits that have high fiber content or the citrus hybrids. When these are juiced without the fibers, their GI goes higher. For instance, grapefruit has GI of 25, but when juiced its GI soars to 48 which is almost double. Try grapefruit in salads or paired it with avocado slices which is a super fruit for amazing healthy benefits.

Fruits from the tropics. The GI of bananas is 54, Kiwi is 53, pineapple is 66, and watermelon is 72. Papaya and mango have GI midway between bananas and pineapple. The rule is simple: if you are diabetic or following any of the diets that are anchored on GI, avoid these fruits. Pineapple is high in bromelain; you can indulge in pineapple from time to time without guilt.

Now that you know which are regarded as low glycemic fruits, you may just have a better way of achieving you dietary goal for improved diabetic condition. Use these fruits creatively so you can find more ways to make these a part of your daily diet.

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