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Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index is a concept developed in the University of Toronto in 1981.  The purpose of the Glycemic Index is to measure the effect carbohydrates have on blood glucose levels.  The Glycemic Index is imperative for anyone who needs to monitor their glucose level due to diabetes or hyperglycemia.  With diabetes reaching epidemic levels in the United States, the development of the Glycemic Index could not have come at a better time.  Each year, more people are diagnosed with this potentially life threatening disease that can cause many serious complications.  It is important for anyone with this condition to familiarize themselves with the Glycemic Index so they can empower themselves and learn which foods should be avoided.

Carbohydrates are a diverse group of foods and all have different ways of breaking down in the system.  People with diabetes have a difficult time breaking down certain foods, particularly those high in carbohydrates, in their system.  Digestion is slow and sugars and starches are absorbed into the blood stream, causing an excess in blood glucose.  Diabetics are often warned to limit their carbohydrate intake because it takes such a long time for most carbohydrates to digest.  However, this is easier said than done and it is difficult, if not impossible, for many diabetics to eliminate carbohydrates from their diet.  This is one of the reasons many diabetics are non-compliant in their treatment.  Because diabetes does not often cause serious complications at onset, many patients refuse to take their medicine and continue eating foods that are high in sugar and starch.  

The Glycemic Index is very helpful because it rates different carbohydrates based upon their effect on the different levels of blood glucose.  Those foods that digest rapidly cause the less harm to the system and have a low glycemic index.  The carbohydrates that take a longer time to digest have a higher rate as they cause more harm to the blood glucose level.

The Glycemic Index ranges from one to one hundred.  A low food in the glycemic index has a rating of below 55.  These include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and some pastas.    Foods that fall between the 56 to 69 range are considered "medium" in the Glycemic Index.  They include candy bars, croissants and some rices.  

Surprisingly, although a candy bar scores in the medium classification of the glycemic index, it is not as harmful as those carbohydrates that score in the high glycemic index range.  These include corn flakes, white rice, white bread and  baked potato.  In other words, it is easier for a diabetic to digest a candy bar than a baked potato.

Knowledge of the glycemic index is imperative for anyone who has diabetes or who has been diagnosed as borderline diabetic.  To be able to understand which foods have the most impact on blood glucose levels is crucial for anyone fighting this potentially life-threatening condition.

If you or a loved one suffers from diabetes, become familiar with the Glycemic Index so that you learn about the different categories of carbohydrates and which groups should be avoided.  There are many substitutes for carbohydrates that rate high in the Glycemic Index and are available at most grocery stores.  While diabetes is currently without a cure, there are many different ways that people with this disease can life long, productive lives.

Good Gylcemic Foods

The Glycemic Index was discovered in 1981 and is the basis for many recently popular diets, including the South Beach Diet as well as others.  The Glycemic Index determines how long certain carbohydrates take to break down and digest in the system.  Those with a high rating, take the longest time to break down and do the most damage to the system of someone with diabetes.  The good glycemic foods; that is, those with the lower rates, are more desirable not only for diabetics, but for those who are watching their carbohydrate intake through such diets as the South Beach Diet, they should also be aware of what the good glycemic foods are.

Good glycemic foods tend to absorb slowly into the system, allowing the body to break down the refined sugars and starches so that the body can digest them properly.  People with Type I and Type II diabetes have a difficult time digesting carbohydrates, particularly those that are high on the glycemic index, and this lack of proper digestion makes it difficult for the diabetic to expel glucose from their blood,.  While most diabetics are wise to avoid most, if not all carbohydrates, as these are what are the most difficult to digest and break down, certain carbohydrates are better than others for diabetics to consume.

Good glycemic foods tend to have a low score on the Glycemic Index that was developed in 1981 at the University of Toronto.  Good glycemic foods are still carbohydrates, but make it easier for the diabetic to digest and are much healthier and preferable than those glycemic foods with high ratings on the Glycemic Index. Substitutions are available for foods that rate high on the Glycemic Index and are widely available in supermarkets and other food stores.

Some of the foods that rate low on the Glycemic Index include most fruits and vegetables,  Although fruits and vegetables contain sugar, the sugars contained in these good glyceic foods digest into the system at a lower rate and also provide valuable nutrients to the diabetic, or just about everyone.  The only vegetable that a diabetic should avoid is a potato, as it has a high glycemic index.  Other fruits and vegetables, however, are preferable than white rice, white bread, corn flakes and anything made with white refined sugar or flour.

Other good glycemic foods include wholegrain breads and pastas.  If you or a loved one has Type I or Type II diabetes, you should switch to whole grain breads and pastas made from wheat flour.  This can be tremendously helpful to anyone who wants to manage their glycemia as well as anyone who wants to follow such low carb diets.  Basmati rice is also considered one of the good glycemic foods.

Often, it is not a matter of eliminating carbohydrates when one is using diet to control their diabetes, but understanding which carbohydrates rate high on the glycemic index.  Diabetes is a disease that can be controlled by proper diet, monitoring one's blood sugar and following doctor's orders as far as medication.  

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