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Foods to avoid when managing diabetes

If you're managing , watching what you eat is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. "The basic goal of nutrition for people with diabetes is to avoid blood sugar spikes," says Gerald Bernstein, M.D., director of the diabetes management program at Friedman Diabetes Institute,  New York. Things like lollies and soft drink can be dangerous for diabetics because the body absorbs these simple sugars almost instantly. 

Some foods you should try and avoid (as they have a high GI value - see more about GI below) include:

  • white rice (substitute for brown or basmati)
  • white pasta (have small servings)
  • dried fruit
  • juices and smoothies
  • pretzels
  • fries
  • white breads
  • dry biscuits
  • soft drinks
  • blended coffees

If there is something here that you love, then just be aware of portion control, and enjoy once in a while. :)

Foods which can help lower blood sugars include:

  • nuts
  • legumes
  • avocado
  • greek yoghurt
  • grains
  • eggs
  • garlic
  • green tea
  • most green veggies

What exactly does GI mean?

Carbohydrate is an essential part of our diets, but not all carbohydrate foods are equal. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore usually, insulin levels.

There are three ratings for GI:
In individual portions:
Low = GI value 55 or less
Medium = GI value of 56 – 69 inclusive
High = GI 70 or more

 

So check with your health professional as to what is best for you - everyone is different, so what works for someone may not be best for you.

 

What are low GI foods?

This week we are looking at low GI foods - what are they and why are they important for helping to manage blood sugar levels. One of our favourite Diabetes Educators has written this helpful blog. Nikki Wallis says:

Q. What is the difference between low GI and low carb?

A. Low GI ‘diets’are more about the quality of the carbohydrate eaten, whereas low carb ‘diets’ are about the quantity of carbohydrates eaten.

The glycemic index (or GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to how much they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after they’re eaten.

High GI foods are quickly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause fluctuations in blood glucose levels.

Low GI foods (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and therefore usually, lower insulin levels too.

Low carb refers to the restriction of carbohydrates in the diet. There are three levels of low carbohydrate diet including very low, moderate and high carb. A very low carb diet has around ~50g or less of carbs per day and can lead to ketoacidosis.

Australian dietary guidelines recommend that for adults, carbohydrates should make up 45-65% of our total energy intake, or 230g-310g of carbs per day.

It’s important for anyone with t1d who is looking to start a low carb eating plan, to speak with their healthcare team.

You can read the rest of this article here.

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