Diabetes comes in two main forms: type 1 and type 2. While I wouldn’t say you’re lucky to have diabetes, if you have to choose between the two types, then you are definitely lucky to have type 2 – it means no insulin shots and it is a lot more manageable. What is comes down to, is regulating blood sugar (keeping your blood glucose under control), watching your carb intake, and basically following the glycemic index (GI) in order to keep balance in the food you ingest. This means, there are foods you need to avoid, and that’s where the glycemic index comes in.
For those with type 2 diabetes, getting familiar with the glycemic index chart is the best tool you can have. In an attempt to continuously balance blood sugar levels through what you eat, you can use the GI to determine which foods are best for you, and which foods you should avoid. But, what is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index is a basic a measure of carbohydrates and how they affect blood glucose levels, and it divided into three categories – Low GI, Medium GI, and High GI – which give contain a range of numbers to determine the food’s category, including G.I. ranges of 55 or less, 56-59, or 70 and above (respectively). For instance, carbs that qualify as Low GI foods are preferable because they have a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream, and will not spike your blood sugar. High GI carbs, on the other hand, will give you substantially less blood glucose control, as they will blast your bloodstream with glucose quickly and can increase your blood sugar to unusually high levels. The good news is, you can combine High GI carbs with low and medium GI qualifiers to balance your release of glucose a little better, and these categories and ranges help you determine a list of foods to avoid with type 2 diabetes.
Foods you should avoid with type 2 diabetes fall into the high GI category. According to the American Diabetes Association, these include: white bread or bagels; corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, or instant oatmeal; shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, or macaroni and cheese from mix; russet potatoes and pumpkin; pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers; and, melons and pineapple. Obviously, blatant sugar-based desserts and candies are also off the list, though not listed by the
Just because there are certain foods you should avoid with type 2 diabetes don’t mean you can’t eat them at all, it just means you need to eat them in moderation and watch how they affect your blood sugar levels as an individual. Some people with type 2 diabetes have less of a problem with blood glucose control than others, so you will just need to see how your own body reacts, and then use the glycemic index to help determine which combinations of foods work best for your body. One important point to remember about choosing your food, however, is that it is not just about your blood sugar level alone, but how it affects the rest of your body. Combining high cholesterol foods and high GI foods is particularly dangerous, because increased insulin levels in the bloodstream also increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream; so, this makes your meal a double-whammy.
Living with type 2 diabetes may seem difficult at first, so if you are new to the “family,” go ahead and print yourself out glycemic index table and take it with you. This way, if you ever have a question, you can just do a quick check and see if it is what you should really be eating.
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