What is the Glycemic Index and why does it matter?

Updated: Oct 12, 2021

It’s hardly a secret that Filipinos love to eat. One perfect proof is the left and right foodie spots in Metro Manila alone. However, people with diabetes, those trying to lose weight, and people at risk of heart disease can still be foodies and reap significant benefits from a low glycemic index (GI) diet. The glycemic index ranks carbohydrates on a scale of 0 to 100 based on how quickly the food can raise blood sugar levels after eating.

Food with a high glycemic index is rapidly digested and will cause substantial fluctuations in blood sugar. On the other hand, foods with a low glycemic index are digested more slowly, prompting a more gradual rise in blood sugar.

Based on this rating, each food can be classified as a low, medium, or high-GI food:

• Low GI: less than or equal to 55

• Medium GI: 56-69

• High GI: equal to or greater than 70

Here is a reference guide for some of the most commonly consumed carbohydrates in the Philippines:

Adapted from: www.oregonstate.edu , www.health.harvard.edu , & Stewart et. al. Nutrition Care Professionals Pty Ltd., 2017

In addition to the table presented above, here is a list of the kinds of food to avoid which have high GI classification:

• Bread, cereals, and baked goods such as corn flakes, donuts, gluten-free multigrain bread, Jasmine rice, pretzels, rice cake, sticky rice, sushi rice, waffles, and white bread

• Starchy vegetables such as boiled kumara and other potatoes

• Milk and milk substitutes such as rice milk

• Fruits such as lychees and watermelon

How to lower Glycemic Index?

Calorie expenditures vary with an individual's weight. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) issues exercise recommendations to help burn the sugar from the high GI food we consume which include:

• Three or more minutes of light activity, such as walking, leg extensions or overhead arm stretches, every 30 minutes weekly or;

• 150 minutes of moderate or a lesser amount of vigorous activity weekly.

Lower the glycemic index of your meals with these few simple steps:

1. Don’t skimp or overboard on simple carbs (such as soda, baked treats, packaged cookies, fruit juice concentrate, or breakfast cereals);

2. Go for fiber;

3. Check out a list of high and low glycemic index foods;

4. Avoid heavily processed foods and;

5. Eat potatoes occasionally with its skin. The vitamin, mineral, and fiber content of a potato is mostly in the skin, so it is best to eat them with the skin left on. Try to keep portions small. When you do eat potatoes, the less smashing, the better.

You can #Uncheatyourday by taking Diabetasol. It is a meal replacement nutrition powder packed with 11 essential vitamins and 6 minerals. It contains Vitadigest, a combination of inulin fiber and slow digesting carbohydrate which helps regulate blood sugar by sustaining the energy release, hence it makes you feel full longer. It is also clinically proven to have a low Glycemic Index (GI) of only 52 and its components of vitamins A, C, D, E and Zinc can also help enhance the immune system, making people less prone to infection.

It is important to note that the GI of a specific food is only an estimate. Consult your dietitian on how you can combine both high and low GI food to prevent your blood glucose from spiking. At the end of the day, along with diet and exercise, making use of the glycemic index can help a person make healthy decisions about their overall diet and nutrition.

To learn more about diabetes and get more #Diabetips, like and follow us on Facebook (hyperlinked to FB Page) and join our monthly #Diabetasolutions activities.

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