Diabetes is a serious condition that affects around 4 million people here in the UK, so it’s vital that there is a full understanding of what having Diabetes actually entails and how it can be managed. This in turn will help to prevent any future complications and allow those who suffer from Diabetes to continue to live happy, worry-free lives.
Here at MOMA, we want to help promote and raise awareness around the impact of the Glycaemic Index on a Diabetic diet.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed as Diabetic and finding the change a little confusing, we’ve listed a few pointers below.
What is Glycaemic Index (GI)?
For those with Type 2 diabetes, one way you can effectively manage your diabetes is through the control of your everyday diet. The glycaemic index (GI) lists different foods and how quickly they raise blood glucose levels.
Swapping high GI foods in your daily diet to low GI foods can help control the levels of glucose in your body.
The glycaemic index of a particular food is represented or visualised by numbers between 0-100, with 100 being the value given to pure glucose.
A food scoring below 55 on the GI scale is considered a ‘low GI food’, and can be considered for inclusion within a diabetic diet.
Did you know: It has been suggested that low GI foods can help to even out blood glucose levels for those with type 2 diabetes.
It’s important to remember not all foods low in GI will be healthy to eat regularly, especially those with high amounts of fat, salt, sugar and saturated fat; which may be present even in foods that are considered ‘low GI’.
Keeping an eye on these factors can make a significant difference to your diet, especially when trying to manage diabetes.
Did you know: Healthy wholegrain carbohydrates (such as porridge) in particular, are low in GI because they are absorbed slower than other foods.
Simple swaps to begin your Low GI journey
Making simple swaps from high GI foods to low GI foods is one of the suggested ways to successfully manage diabetes through diet. Over time, you’ll get used to knowing which foods are good or bad for the new you.
To get you started, we’ve provided a few simple swaps you can make in your daily diet which could make a real difference to your day-to-day health.
Porridge is an easy low GI breakfast swap
Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. A filling and nutritious meal to kick start the day can help you feel fuller for longer and make you feel awesome!
Research suggests a low GI breakfast can put a stop to spikes in glucose levels for hours after breakfast - this in itself a huge benefit for diabetics.
Top Swap: Consider swapping Corn Flakes or toast (which are both classed as high GI) for a porridge with no added sugar, for a filling, healthy alternative.
Here at MOMA we have delicious porridge pots and porridge sachets with no added sugar - the perfect low GI breakfast!
A low GI lunch and dinner
For lunches and dinners, swapping your wheat pasta for spelt pasta and basmati rice for brown rice, you can start to add low GI foods to your daily meals without even noticing the change.
A really easy way to feel full at mealtimes is to add some potatoes to your lunch or dinner. However, the type of potato you pick and how you cook it can change the GI score. For example, Boiled New potatoes (54) have a lower GI than boiled Maris Piper (85) or King Edward (75) Potatoes.
Cooking methods count on the GI Index
When it comes to working out where your foods rank on the GI scale, cooking method can have a real impact. For example, baking a sweet potato increases the GI to 94, compared with a boiled sweet potato scoring just 43.
Did you know?: Cooking method (baking vs boiling) changes the starch quality in many root vegetables and fruits, transforming them from a low GI food to a high GI-food.
There are also plenty of fruit and vegetables that are low in GI, including carrots, peas, mushrooms, chillies, cherries, plums and pears.
Understanding how cooking processes affect the GI of certain foods is vital when it comes to maintaining a safe diabetic diet.
Low GI Snack Attack!
You might think that snacking throughout the day would be limited with a low GI diet, but you’d be wrong! In fact, there are plenty of low GI snacks, including hummus, nuts and raisins.
Stay away from donuts, rice cakes and pretzels to make the most of this change in your diet and lifestyle.
Top Swap: Consider swapping a snack bag of crisps for mini-cucumbers with a pot of hummus for a savoury snack to stave off those mid-afternoon cravings.
Of course, these are just a few ways in which to incorporate low-GI food into your diet, but head over to the GI Diet website to find a much more detailed list of the foods suitable for your diet.
The Food Exchange Calculator
This is another handy tool for diabetics when introducing a low GI diet to your everyday life.
The calculator allows you to enter the amount of starch, vegetables, fruit, milk, meat or fat in your meal, which it then converts to tell you how much fat, protein and carbohydrate it contains. Using the calculator can help diabetics to control and improve their diet.
This is just a short rundown of the low GI diet and how it can help diabetics, but this International Diabetes Day, why not do some research of your own, either for yourself or for a family member or friend who’s been diagnosed with diabetes?
Your own learning could make a difference to yours or their quality of life, through continuing to enjoy delicious food!