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Glycemic Index and Diabetes

Glycemic Index: What's It All About?

Good carbohydrates, bad carbohydrates. Low glycemic index, high glycemic index. A great tool to help you manage diabetes or lose weight. You might have heard all these statements associated with the glycemic index. What is this glycemic index all about? Is it worth considering as a way to help you control your blood sugar levels?

The Glycemic Index: Food’s Impact on Blood Sugar in Diabetes

Researchers have spent years debating what makes blood sugar levels too high in those with diabetes. Potential culprits have included sugar, carbohydrates in general, simple carbs, starches, and more. The glycemic index is one attempt to measure each individual food’s effect on blood sugar.

If you're trying to lose weight, calories count more than the types of food in your diet, a U.S. Department of Agriculture-Tufts University study shows.

The study shows that after a year, overweight people on a low-carb low-glycemic-index diet lost just as much weight -- 8% of their original weight -- as people on a reduced-fat, high-glycemic-index diet. That suggests there's a range of healthy diets that can promote weight loss successfully.

High Glycemic Index Foods Are Linked to Health Problems

What researchers have learned is that high glycemic index foods generally make blood sugar levels higher. In addition, people who eat a lot of high glycemic index foods tend to have greater levels of body fat, as measured by the body mass index (BMI). High BMIs are linked to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

High glycemic index foods include many carbohydrates such as these:

  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Low-fiber cereals
  • Baked goods

WebMD Medical Reference

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

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70-130
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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