Diabetes: Dr Deepti Bagree shares her views on consuming low Glycemic Index foods to lower blood sugar levels

In an exclusive with Pinkvilla, Dr. Deepti Bagree, Head of Department- Healthcare, RESET- Holistic Living Concepts gave us a deep insight on what is Glycemic Index, how low GI food items can lower blood sugar levels and how one should also consider Glycemic Load along with Glycemic Index.
Diabetes: Dr Deepti Bagree shares her views on consuming low Glycemic Index foods to lower blood sugar levelsDiabetes: Dr Deepti Bagree shares her views on consuming low Glycemic Index foods to lower blood sugar levels
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Low-glycemic aka low-GI diet is becoming quite popular in health circles as they help in weight loss, improves cholesterol levels, reduces blood sugar levels and also lowers the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases. Low GI food items are what is most advised to diabetics, but do they really make the difference? If you are thinking about the same, then do not worry as in an exclusive with Pinkvilla, Dr. Deepti Bagree, Head of Department- Healthcare, RESET- Holistic Living Concepts gave us a deep insight on the following:

What is Glycemic Index, how low GI food items can lower blood sugar levels and how one should also consider Glycemic Load along with Glycemic Index.

 

Carbs affect blood sugar levels

Dr. Bagree revealed that carbohydrates play a major role in affecting blood sugar levels. Different types of carbohydrate sources have a different effect on the blood glucose levels depending on the rate at which absorption and digestion take place. Hence, a ranking system called glycemic index is used to determine the effect of a food in raising blood sugar levels quickly, moderately or slowly. 

What is the glycemic index?

She said, "The glycemic index is a popularly used method for planning a diet for diabetes. The index runs from 0 to 100 and glucose being the reference having an index of 100." She added, "Carbohydrates that absorb slowly fall into low GI i.e. 55 or below. For example, vegetables, some fruits, pulses, some whole grains, dairy. Moderately absorbed carbohydrates fall into a GI of 56-69 and high being 70+."

What is the glycemic load?

Dr. Bagree revealed, "There is another term used often while considering the choice of carbohydrates and is more reliable than GI alone and the same is called Glycemic load.  Speaking of Glycemic Load aka GL, to know the value one has to combine both the quantity and quality of carbohydrates.Glycemic load is categorized low when the food item's number is lower than 10, moderate between 10-20 and high above 20. A high glycemic load food will impact blood sugar fast and should not be considered by diabetics."

Best foods for diabetics

The doctor also revealed that high fiber foods and unsweetened dairy and its products (being rich in calcium, protein, and fats helps reduce the GI of a meal) are the foods you should add in the diet. She added, "Consuming pulses reduces GI of rice which is a known high GI food making it safe for diabetics.  Also, adding fats to high GI food is another way to slow down the release of sugar in the blood. Mixing different GI foods together helps overall reduce the GI of a meal. Most of the foods contain carbohydrates and makeup to a large portion of our meals hence idea of choosing the right quality carbohydrate along with its portion is important.  

She concluded by saying, GI is not the only factor alone in improving blood glucose parameters. Hence, eating as per GI to manage diabetes shouldn't be the priority instead of thinking about eating balanced foods with the controlled portion along with the decent amount of activities, restorative sleep and de-stressing activities would be the more reliable way.

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