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  • These Foods With Low Glycemic Index Values Can Help You Control Your Blood Sugar

    A low-GI diet can also be useful to those who want to lose or maintain weight.
    by Kate Borbon .
These Foods With Low Glycemic Index Values Can Help You Control Your Blood Sugar
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital to good health. To make sure your diet is healthy, there are various ways to measure how nutritious certain food items are. One is the glycemic index.

    What is the glycemic index?

    According to Harvard Health Publishing, glycemic index (GI) is a value assigned to foods based on how quickly they can cause an increase in a person’s blood sugar levels. The lower a food’s GI level is, the slower it can increase blood sugar. There are three categories of GI level:

    • Low GI: 55 or less
    • Medium GI: 56 to 69
    • High GI: 70 or more

    Diabetes Canada says that embracing a low-GI diet can help decrease a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and its complications, heart disease, and stroke, as well as make you feel full for longer. This sort of diet can also be useful if you want to maintain or lose weight.

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    Individuals with diabetes are also encouraged to eat more foods with low GI, as these are slowly absorbed by the body and only produce a slow or gradual rise in blood sugar, according to Foodwatch.

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    Low-GI foods to include in your diet

    Whether you are trying to control your blood sugar levels or want to shed a few pounds, eating more low-GI foods can help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Here are a few of the low-GI food items you can try eating more regularly.

    Barley, al dente pasta, grainy breads, oatmeal

    Harvard Health Publishing recommends eating grains that are as minimally processed as possible, like brown rice, whole barley, and whole kernel bread. Other types of grains that are either low- or medium-GI are al dente pasta, quinoa, and steel-cut oatmeal.

    Sweet potatoes

    According to the Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, the GI level of a potato can be affected by what type of potato is used and how it is prepared. For example, red and fingerling potatoes tend to have lower GI levels than the starchier russet potatoes. Meanwhile, boiled and roasted potatoes have the lowest GI level (59) while mashed and instant potatoes have the highest (78 and 82, respectively).

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    Apples, oranges, bananas, pineapples, mangoes, pears, grapefruits

    Instead of highly processed crackers, cookies, and biscuits, the Glycemic Index Foundation recommends snacking on these fruits, whether fresh or dried. Note that according to the American Diabetes Association, the riper a fruit or vegetable is, the higher its GI value.

    Dairy products

    According to the Glycemic Index Foundation, most dairy products have low GI values and are also good sources of calcium and protein. For example, Harvard Health Publishing writes that full-fat milk has a GI value of 39±3, skim milk has a GI value of 37±4, soy milk has a GI value of 34±4, and fruit yogurt has a GI value of 41±2.

    Kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, soybeans

    Legumes like dried and canned beans, lentils, and chickpeas all have low GI values and are rich in nutrients, protein, and fiber, says the Glycemic Index Foundation. These food items can be added to salads and casseroles, eaten with crunchy vegetables, and even turned into dips.

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    Click here for everything you need to know about type 1 diabetes.

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