Type 2 diabetes operates under the surface and only unleashes its destruction when blood sugar levels are consistently too high – when this happens, the body starts to malfunction. Fortunately, following a low-GI diet can help prevent this from happening. How can a low-GI diet lower your blood sugars?
Foods that are low-GI value are the preferred choice, as they are slowly digested and absorbed, causing a slower and smaller rise in blood sugar levels.
However, foods with high GI value should be limited since they are quickly digested and absorbed, resulting in rapid rise and fall of blood sugar levels and should be avoided for type 2 diabetics.
Studies have shown that the low GI diet may result in weight loss, reduce blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, low-glycaemic index diets for type 2 diabetes were analysed.
The study searched PubMed, the Cochrane Library, EMBASE, and clinical trials registries for published and unpublished studies up until 1 March 2019 relating to GI diets and its ability on blood sugar levels.
The results showed low-GI diets were effective at reducing glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting glucose, BMI, total cholesterol, and LDL, but had no effect on fasting insulin, triglycerides, or insulin requirements.
The reduction in fasting glucose and HbA1c was inversely correlated with body weight.
The greatest reduction in fasting blood glucose was seen in the studies of the longest duration.
“Low-GI diets may be useful for glycaemic control and may reduce body weight in people with prediabetes or diabetes,” concluded the study.
In another study with the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, glycaemic index in the diet of European outpatients with diabetes was analysed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11237934/
The study said: “The relation of the GI to serum cholesterol (total, LDL, and HDL), and fasting triacylglycerol was analysed in 2810 people with type 1 diabetes.”
It concluded that the study in European patients with type 1 diabetes showed that a lower dietary GI is related to lower Hb A(1c) concentrations, independently of fibre intake.
The consumption of bread and pasta had the biggest effect on the overall dietary GI of European outpatients.
What is a low-glycaemic diet?
A Low Glycaemic Index (GI) diet has been rated as one of the best diets to follow as it measures how carbohydrate-containing food raises blood sugar glucose.
The diet measures ranks of food according to their effect of the blood sugar levels.
The rates at which different foods raise blood sugar levels are ranked in comparison with the absorption of 50 grams of pure glucose, which is used as reference food and has a GI value of 100.
The diet was created in the early 1980s by a Canadian professor, Doctor David Jenkins.
The low-GI diet looks at how fat and fibre tend to lower the GI of a food and as a general rule, the more cooked or processed the food, the higher the GI.
Carbohydrates are the primary food that raises blood sugar.
Glycaemic index and glycaemic load are scientific terms used to measure the impact of a carbohydrate on blood sugar.
Foods with a low glycaemic load raise blood sugar modestly and thus are better choices for people with type 2 diabetes. the main factors that determine a food’s glycaemic load are the amount of fibre, fat and protein it contains.
Foods to eat for a type 2 diabetic meal plan include complex carbohydrates such as brown rice, whole wheat, quinoa, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, beans and lentils.
Foods to avoid include simple carbohydrates, which are processed, such as sugar, pasta, white bread, flour, cookies and pastries.