Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Life with Type 2 Diabetes:The Glycemic Index

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Bob Ewing - Knowledge is power and the only power worth seeking is power over one’s self. Knowledge comes through interaction and connection, for example, with the information we encounter daily.

All the choices we make rely on our knowledge.
When it comes to living with diabetes, in this case Type 2, knowledge makes the difference between life and death. Poor choices lead to illness and suffering.

There is much false, although possibly well-intentioned information, out there in Internet land about diabetes, and I have been sifting through it for a number of years now.

One thing I can state for certain is the most effective way to prevent diabetes is to live an active life and eat real food, not too much, but make it real. If you have diabetes, as I do, then control becomes a major issue. You watch what you eat and get regular exercise and overall you can live a good and long life.

When it comes to what foods a person with diabetes can eat, the list is long. It is not essential to avoid all sugar but to be aware of how many foods do contain sugar in one form or another.

I have found the Glycemic Index (GI) to be useful when gathering data about meal planning and shopping.

The GI is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood glucose levels compared to glucose or white bread. If you choose foods with a low GI rating more often than those that have a high GI it is possible your choices will:

• Control your blood glucose levels
• Control your cholesterol levels
• Control your appetite
• Lower your risk of getting heart disease
• Lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes

When you eat food that contains carbohydrates, the sugar (glucose) from the food breaks down during digestion and gives you energy. After you eat, your blood glucose level rises; the speed at which the food is able to increase your blood glucose level is called the “glycemic response.”

This glycemic response is influenced by many factors, including how much food you eat, how much the food is processed or even how the food is prepared (for example, pasta that is cooked al dente – or firm – has a lower glycemic response than pasta that is overcooked).

I use the GI as a tool, one that gives me knowledge over what effect certain foods are having on my body should I choose to eat them. This knowledge means that when I go shopping and add these foods to my list I am making a deliberate choice and taking charge of my health while putting into action an old saying that goes like this:” Let food be your medicine and medicine your food.”