The Glycemic Index and Diabetic Diets

The glycemic index diet is one that many diabetics find useful. The diet is based on assigning foods a ranking that indicates that food’s effect on blood sugar levels. This can be a valuable tool for diabetics, especially ones that have been newly diagnosed as it can take some of the guess work out of meal planning and what foods to eat.

The glycemic index (GI) diet indicates foods that have a low GI value meaning they will take a longer time to have an affect on blood sugars and ones that have a higher value – they will act quicker to raise blood sugars. A diabetic is still going to have to use another means to decide what foods to eat though – such as the food pyramid or an exchange list as not all items on the GI diet are as healthy as they could be. Meaning a food that has a low index does not mean it is a better choice for you than some foods that are on the higher end of the scale.

Using the GI diet as your sole source of meal planning is not recommended not only because the values are not indicative of the healthiest choice but also because not all foods are listed. If you are basing your diet on this method and want to add other foods that do not have GI rating you are not going to be able to properly plan. Until more information is researched on the diet or it is made more comprehensive it should be used with an approved diet for diabetics such as the exchange diet or the carbohydrate counting diet.

If you want more information on how to incorporate the GI diet with your current meal plan, consult with your dietician or a diabetes educator.