Last Updated: 23 October 2016
A good way to manage diabetes and weight loss is to understand the connection between carbohydrates and effects on blood sugar levels. Learn how to apply the Glycemic Index (GI), choose healthier foods and maintain blood sugar at safe levels while losing weight.
This is an index that ranks carbohydrate foods on a scale of 0-100. Zero being foods low in absorbable blood sugar and 100 the highest absorbable sugars from foods.
The higher the GI value of foods the higher the blood glucose level in the body. When blood sugar levels increase from foods consumed the body produces more insulin to store it until the energy fuel is needed to get work done. When blood glucos levels are sustained over ~105-110 for a period of time it often results in unwanted weight gain and for others disease. The food groups listed below are determined by many in the health and dietary profession as healthier food choices for diabetics. Because they are low absorbable sugar foods they are slower to digest and absorbed into the blood. This helps to lower and maintain blood sugar levels.
I wrote a previous article “Diabetes a Serious Disease.” Click on the link to learn more on topic. In short, diabetes is defined and diagnosed as type 1 or 2. Whereas insulin function is critical to maintain blood sugar levels and metabolic receptors use it to nourish and fuel body movement. When either of these systems break or become less efficient at utilizing blood sugar then risk of disease, or aggravation or worsening of pre-existing ill-health condition may occur.
Once diagnosed as a diabetic it is wise to consume lower absorbable carbohydrate foods. This choice will help to mitigate damage to nerves, blood vessels and alleviate diabetic nerve pain. While reducing excess body fat known to contribute to cardiovascular and circulatory disease.
It is the complex carbohydrates “e.g., whole foods multi-grains and fibrous fruits and vegetables” that also delay hunger pains and support weight loss while alleviating diabetic symptoms.
However don’t be fooled in believing low glycemic foods alone will fully address overweight problems. Although simple and complex carbohydrates are necessary in the diet, it is the quantity, or total calories consumed in a day that cause body weight to increase. Eating too much of anything, including healthy foods while living a sedentary lifestyle can lead to any number of health problems. Not addressed in this article are other factors that may contribute, or lead to diabetes and obesity. Such as hormonal, immunological and genetic factors. Maintaining a healthy diet is part of the health equation, but only a medical specialist can determine through diagnosis if other treatment or prescription is necessary to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals.
Below I provide a popular listing of low sugar foods good for overall health and weight management. The American Diabetes and American Dietetic Associations have not yet adapted the GI concept. It appears this has more to do with lack of empirical evidence required of each food listed and resulting degree of benefit to a diabetic patient.
If you suspect your diabetic or have long term overweight or obesity challenges, I highly recommend you request a referral of your primary care physician to see an endocrinologist, diabetic or metabolic specialist. Then request relative laboratory tests to ensure your blood sugars and metabolism are functioning at safe levels. Also, discuss managing your diet through healthier food choice by using the Glycemic Food Index (GI) as a safe guide to identify low absorbable sugar foods. Prior to physician visit select the foods you prefer from the index. Then consult with the doctor in determining if those choices are right for you. For a full GI listing ask your doctor, use an Internet search engine, or visit your local book store. Below represents the short lists.
Lower Glycemic Food Index (GI). Sugar alcohols (Sorbitol, Maltitol) Soy drinks, milk, yoghurt, Sweet potatoes, yams, vegetables, Fruits – plums, pears, peaches, grapes, grapefruit, cherries, bananas, apples, avocados, fresh juices. Dried beans, peas, lentils. Spaghetti, pasta, Basmati rice, Whole grain breads and pita Nuts and seeds.
Higher Glycemic Food Index (GI) Quicker Acting Carbohydrates Ice cream (low-fat), frozen yogurt. White bread, doughnuts, croissants, rice cakes, bagels. White potatoes, corn, white rice. Low fiber cereals – Cornflakes, RiceKrispies, Fruit loops, etc. Pineapple, cantaloupe, watermelon, ripe bananas. Soda, sugar sweetened sports and energy drinks. Candy, sugar.
Since I’m not one to follow the letter of the dietary law, I do eat some high absorbable sugar foods in moderation. But mostly I consume foods listed in the lower GI. It’s not because I’m a diabetic, I just prefer those foods. If you get into the habit of choosing healthier foods, after about 2 weeks you’ll begin to naturally crave them.
It is the hyper-palatable, or over sweetened processed foods by food engineers and unhealthy alcohol and mixed drink habits that addict us to the high absorbable sugar products. Breaking the simple carbohydrate food habit by learning how to moderate it in the diet is a challenge for some. For others, not so much. Give a healthier food choice a try and see if you can begin a new and healthier dietary habit. If it works for you, you’ll feel better, have more energy, lose weight without hunger pains and mobility and fitness levels will increase. And just maybe you’ll be less dependent on some medications and want to do more daily exercise.
As a side note… never forego taking prescribed medications even if you improve diet and have significant weight loss and relief of diabetic symptoms . Follow all doctor treatment and prescription advise. Only a doctor can determine if removal of certain meds is right for you.
If you’d like to prepare healthier foods for your family, check out our book store at the home site to find recipe books, specialized diets and cook books, etc. These books & magazines provide a plethora of different ideas on how you can prepare tastey foods for those with diabetes, or those looking to get more fit and lose weight.
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET. 2016 Copyright, All rights reserved. MirrorAthlete Inc., Publishing @: www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your free monthly eNewsletter.