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Sugar Control - Glycemic Index

Dr. Z's note

Today I am honoured to tell you guys that I have a guest blogger writing this post. I met Ms. Mojan Radfar (Yes! her name is Mojan ☺) through a friend. She is a fourth year Food and Nutrition student at Ryerson University. She is also a presenter for Diabetes Association of Canada. Her passion for nutrition and empowering patients always amazes me. Mojan strongly believes that knowledge is power; hence, she tries to help the general public to be an advocate for their own health.

I think by looking at her short biography you know why I asked her to write a blog post on diabetes. I hope you enjoy this blog post as much as I did. I read through every single line and she could not say it better. This can be your first step towards preventing diabetes.

Dr. Z

So let's start!

Sugar Control - Glycemic Index
Have you ever heard of the term “Glycemic Index”? How many times you overheard your health conscious friends saying that they follow a low glycemic index diet? How many times you thought, “Uh, too fancy for me, I don’t even know what they are talking about”. I have certainly been there. That is why I decided to tell you all about glycemic index so next time you hear this word, you would smile and say “Bingo! I know what is going on!”


Glycemic index (GI)
It is basically a ranking scale from 1-100. It takes carbohydrate-rich (sugar-rich) foods and monitors how fast they increase blood sugar. The magic numbers to remember are 55 and 70.
Low GI foods (55 or less) (GOOD): they raise blood glucose slowly. You want a lot of them in your diet.
Yam, yogurt, chickpeas, lentils and apple are my favourites in this category
Medium GI foods (55-70)
High GI foods (70 or more) (BAD): they quickly raise blood glucose levels.
The foods that I run away from in this list are soda, bagel and baked potato .


Who cares what is the GI of the food?
Well, I do.
• Low GI foods:
o Slowly increase insulin (Less pressure on pancreas)
o Improve your cholesterol (Healthier heart)
o High fiber content (Bingo! Lose weight and feel full longer)
• High GI foods:
o High demand on insulin to increase fast (Oops! Diabetes in near future?)
o Release free fatty acids in response to insulin (Cardiovascular disease soon?)


Can I change the GI of the food?
I cannot imagine eating low glycemic index foods all the time. Life will be too boring so this is what you need to know:
• Fat, protein and fiber anchor to sugar and lower the GI of the food. (umm! Chocolate with almond is better than chocolate alone? You got it, almond is a healthy fat ☺ )
• As always, the more processed or the more cooked a food is, there is more readily available sugar and higher GI in the food. (Apple juice worse than whole apple? Yes)
• Ripeness, the more ripe a fruit is, the higher the GI- Common sense, right?


Bottom line is:

• Incorporate low GI foods in your diet as much as possible
• Combine high GI foods with low GI foods to stabilize insulin
• You don’t remember the GI scale of the food? No problem, combine sugary meals with high protein and/or high healthy fat foods to slow down glucose absorption and decrease the GI of the sugary meal.
• Remember that glycemic index does not mean healthy. The sugar content matters as well. Glycemic index shows you how quickly your blood sugar shoots up. Wait a minute! Does it matter how high your blood sugar go?

o Yes. That is called glycemic load. It is basically how many grams of carb is in the food multiply by GI.
Aha, this means you cannot eat too much of low GI foods. Carbs add up and they increase your blood sugar too high and kinda negate the effect of the food being low GI. Yes the blood sugar will raise slowly but it will go too high if you eat too much of any food, even the low GI ones ☺


I hope next time your friend or your doctor talks about glycemic index, you can smile and carry a conversation. Follow these simple rules and you will postpone diabetes and cardiovascular disease for a long time.

This is what I want you to do now. Click the link below and look at the glycemic index of different foods. Trust me it can become a life changer when you know what to look for:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm

Mojan Radfar

Picture taken from: http://vitahound.com/dog-health-library/dog-nutrition/the-glycemic-indexs-role-in-your-dogs-health/

Author resumes no liability for incorrect information or any action reader decides to take based on the information on this blog post. This blog post is only author’s personal input on the topic and by no means entails any medical advice.