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Understanding the Glycemic Index: A Simple Guide to Healthy Eating and Portion Control

Managing blood sugar levels is very important for overall health, especially for those with diabetes. The Glycemic Index (GI) is a valuable tool that helps us choose foods wisely to keep blood sugar stable. Here’s how you can use the Glycemic Index, along with portion control, to make healthier choices.
 

What is the Glycemic Index (GI)?

The Glycemic Index ranks foods based on how quickly they raise blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI (70 or more) cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, while those with a low GI (55 or less) cause a slower, more gradual rise.


Using the Glycemic Index to Make Better Choices:



By opting for more foods with a lower GI, you can help manage blood sugar levels more effectively, reducing the risk of complications from diabetes and promoting better weight management.



Portion Control and Diabetes Management

Watching portion sizes can help manage diabetes. We suggest a balanced approach to portioning meals:

  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits: Choose more vegetables than fruits, as most vegetables have less sugar. This helps control calorie intake and provides essential nutrients.

  • Divide the other half of your plate: Distribute this portion between protein-rich foods and whole grains. Examples include lean meats, fish, beans, whole wheat pasta, and brown rice.


Combining GI and Portion Control

Understanding the Glycemic Index and practicing portion control can significantly impact your health outcomes, particularly if you have diabetes or are aiming for better overall well-being. By choosing low GI foods and controlling portion sizes, you can better manage blood sugar levels, support weight loss efforts, and improve your overall health.

Remember, consult with a healthcare professional or Registered Dietitian to tailor these principles to your individual needs and health goals. Each small step towards healthier eating habits contributes to a more balanced and fulfilling lifestyle.



Low Glycemic Index (55 or less) Foods. Choose these most often!

Grains and Starches

Breads:

Heavy Mixed Grain

Breads Spelt Bread

Sourdough Bread

Tortilla (Whole Grain)


Cereal:

All-Bran™ Cereal

Oat Bran

Oats (Steel Cut)


Grains:

Barley

Bulgur

Mung Bean Noodles

Pasta (Al Dente, Firm)

Pulse Flours

Quinoa

Rice (Converted, Parboiled)


Other:

Peas*

Popcorn

Sweet Potato*

Winter Squash*

*Most starchy/sweet vegetables (e.g. peas, parsnip, winter squash) provide 15 g or more carbohydrate per 1 cup serving

Fruits

Milk and Milk Alternatives

Meat and Alternatives





Moderate Glycemic Index (56 to 69) Foods. Choose LESS often!


Grains and Starches

Breads:

Chapati (White, Whole Wheat)

Flaxseed/Linseed Bread

Pita Bread (White, Whole Wheat)

Pumpernickel Bread

Roti (White, Whole Wheat)

Rye Bread (Light, Dark, Whole Grain)

Stone Ground Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Grain Wheat Bread


Cereal:

Cream of Wheat™ (Regular)

Oats (Instant)

Oats (Large Flake)

Oats (Quick)


Grains:

Basmati Rice

Brown Rice

Cornmeal

Couscous (Regular, Whole Wheat)

Rice Noodles

White Rice (Short, Long Grain)

Wild Rice


Other:

Beets

Corn

French Fries (An occasional food)

Parsnip

Potato (Red, White, Cooled)

Rye Crisp Crackers

Fruits

Meat and Alternatives





High Glycemic Index (70 or more) Foods. Choose LEAST often!


Grains and Starches

Breads:

Bread (White, Whole Wheat)

Naan (White, Whole Wheat)


Cereal:

All-Bran Flakes™

Cereal Corn Flakes™

Cereal Cream of Wheat™ (Instant)

Puffed Wheat Cereal

Rice Krispies™ Cereal

Special K™ Cereal


Grains:

Jasmine Rice

Millet

Sticky Rice

White Rice (Instant)


Other:

Carrots

Potato (Instant Mashed)

Potato (Red, White, Hot)

Pretzels

Rice Cakes

Soda Crackers

Fruits

Milk and Milk Alternatives


 

Want to learn more to help manage your blood sugar and feel your best? Schedule an appointment with an Amoskeag Health provider today by calling 603-626-9500.

 

 

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