Eating low-glycemic foods is one tool to help keep your diabetes under control. The glycemic index is a rating system for foods that contain carbohydrate. It helps you know how quickly a food with carbohydrate raises blood sugar, so you can focus on eating foods that raise blood sugar slowly.
You don't have to deny yourself certain food groups or favorite dishes when you follow a low-glycemic eating plan. You focus on eating measured amounts of low- or medium-glycemic foods and trying to eat a balanced diet.
The first step is to look at the kinds of foods you're eating now. Write down(What is a PDF document?) the carbohydrate-rich foods you eat over several days. Then find the glycemic index of these foods.
Foods in the index are given a number from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the higher the glycemic index. Foods are compared to glucose, which is sugar. It has a rank of 100.
Potato, baked (such as russet)
Dried and canned beans and legumes
Cereals and grains
Hamburger bun (white)
Spaghetti (whole wheat)
Under columns labeled low, medium, or high, list the different foods you eat, according to their glycemic index. You can see at a glance how many high-, medium-, and low-glycemic foods you eat. You may find that you already are eating many foods that are low or medium on the index. But you also may find many foods that are high-glycemic or on the high end of medium.
A dietitian or
certified diabetes educator can help you pick foods that you like and that are low on the index. You can get more information from the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.
Look at your list for high-glycemic foods that you eat only now and then or that you wouldn't mind removing from your diet.
Find some low-glycemic choices that you could eat in place of those high-glycemic foods. So, for example, if you like baked potatoes, try having a baked yam instead. If you often eat a plain bagel for breakfast, try a slice of multi-grain toast instead. Watermelon is a fine treat once in a while in the summer. But you could limit how much of it you eat. Or you could have strawberries or other low-glycemic berries instead.
CitationsAtkinson FS, et al. (2008). International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008. Diabetes Care, 31(12): 2281-2283.American Diabetes Association (2013). The Glycemic Index of Foods. Available online: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/the-glycemic-index-of-foods.html.Other Works ConsultedAmerican Diabetes Association (2013). Nutrition therapy recommendations for the management of adults with diabetes. Diabetes Care, 36(11): 3821-3842. DOI: 10.2337/dc13-2042. Accessed December 5, 2013.American Diabetes Association (2013). The Glycemic Index of Foods. Available online: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/the-glycemic-index-of-foods.html.Atkinson FS, et al. (2008). International tables of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2008. Diabetes Care, 31(12): 2281-2283.Franz MJ (2012). Medical nutrition therapy for diabetes mellitus and hypoglycemia of nondiabetic origin. In LK Mahan et al., eds., Krause's Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th ed., pp. 675-710. St Louis: Saunders.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes EducatorColleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
Current as ofMarch 13, 2017
Current as of:
March 13, 2017
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & Colleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
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Last modified on: 8 September 2017