An Overview of a Low-Glycemic Diet for Diabetics

Low Glycemic Diet for diabetics is based upon the findings of David Jenkins, nutrition professor at the University of Toronto. In 1981, Jenkins created the Glycemic Index specifically for diabetics as an aid to dietary control of the disease. The original index included the most popular high carbohydrate foods. In time, other nutritionists analyzed and added hundreds of other foods to the Glycemic Index (GI) creating a list of low glycemic index foods.

Glycemic Index (GI)
To determine the glycemic index of a food, to help with a low glycemic diet for diabetics, blood sugar levels are tested at specific intervals and compared to the base glycemic index of glucose (also called 100, level 100, or GI=100) in order to create a low glycemic load diet.

The test is performed on ten or more people, with the average results being the value assigned to each food. Every food used in the analysis must contain 50 grams of carbohydrates, therefore, the amount of food given depends on its percentage of carbohydrates in that food (larger portions are required for foods with a lower carbohydrate percentage).

Blood glucose levels are measured every 15 minutes for the first hour, then every 30 minutes for 2 hours thereafter. The results are then plotted on a graph (time vs. blood glucose level). The GI of a food is defined by the following equation:

(Area Under the blood glucose Curve (AUC) for tested food ÷ AUC of glucose (100)) x 100
(AUC tested food ÷ AUC white bread (140)) x 100

Some analysts use white bread (AUC = 140) instead of glucose (AUC = 100), which results in a different GI, but the information, relatively speaking, is the same when it comes to a low glycemic diet for diabetics.

Choosing to adopt the low glycemic diet for diabetics is a life-style change. This is not intended as a crash or a fad diet, but rather a means to assist in achieving the healthiest life style possible.

There are over a hundred diet plans to choose from (South Beach, Atkins, NutriSystem, Glycemic Impact Diet, etc.), which are paid services. There are some systems that provide the option of home delivered food to simplify the process even further. The majority of all plans remain below the 1500 calorie diabetes diet plan line.

However, you can navigate the seemingly complex GI to form your own menus and simply come up with your personalized Low Glycemic Diet. The key is to only eat foods that fall in the low-to-moderate range on the GI (ie, GI being less than 50). Perhaps the best way to initiate the low glycemic diet for diabetics is to consult with a licensed nutritionist, and expand the menu from there.

Switching to a low glycemic diet for diabetics has been proven to have positive results as a diet plan for diabetic patients. The specific GI for each individual will vary depending on when the food is eaten, individual metabolism, combination of foods eaten, and exercise habits.

Foods with low GI help lower blood sugar, which reduces insulin levels. The key is to eat only foods with a GI less than 100. The use of low glycemic index foods is a crucial element of nutrition adopted in both Canada and Australia. Value of the GI is gaining acceptance as an important nutritional tool in Europe and the United States. It has been proven that using the GI has positive effects in the treatment of diabetes and heart disease as well as weight loss and athletic performance.

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