glycemic index indicates the after-meal response your body has to a
particular food compared to a standard amount of glucose. If that sounds
complicated — it is! Many factors come into play, including your age and
activity level, the amount of fiber and fat in the particular food, how
refined (processed) the food is, what else was eaten with the food, what
the composition of the food is in terms of carb, protein and fat, how the
food was cooked, and how quickly your body digests the food (which varies
from person to person).
general, fiber-rich foods are often the same foods that are thought to be
low glycemic foods and seem to have less effect on blood glucose. Sucrose
(table sugar) also has a lower effect on blood glucose than some
starches, such as potatoes. There are lists of such "high" and
"low" glycemic index foods.
professionals agree that the more complex a meal plan is,
the less likely people are to follow it. The glycemic index is a fairly
complex meal planning tool, and the fact that people's blood glucose
can react differently to so-called "low" and "high"
glycemic index foods has limited the usefulness of the index in teaching
patients with diabetes how to manage their food intake to keep their blood glucose
under control. However, the glycemic index may be be
used as an additional tool together with a patient's current meal planning
system. Registered dietitians often encourage patients to determine their
own individual glycemic index of foods based on how their blood glucose
responds to the various meals and snacks they tend to eat.
dietitians and other healthcare professionals working with patients prefer
to talk in terms of the number of grams of carbohydrate in a food, rather
than the "glycemic index" of a food. Carbohydrate has the
greatest effect on blood glucose, so in general two foods that have the
same number of grams of carbohydrate in them will have a similar effect on
your blood glucose level. Your dietitian works with you to determine
— based on your weight, how active you are, and other factors — how
many grams of carbohydrate you can eat at each meal and snack to keep your
blood glucose under control. This type of meal planning is simpler to
use, offers greater flexibility, and enables many people to manage their
is carbohydrate counting?
does fiber affect blood glucose levels?
much carbohydrate should I be eating in a day?