Carbohydrates and Glycemic Index
Carbohydrates and Glycemic Indexes
are what goes together to help you on your diabetes meal plan.
So what carbohydrates are you eating? Carbohydrates, are the term that defines starches and sugars in the foods you are consuming. Your body gets energy from this source of nutrition, but on the other hand, they have the most direct effect on your blood sugar levels. Therefore, they play the top role in your management of your diabetes.
Figuring out carbohydrates and glycemic index though, can be perplexing. It is not easy to know which kinds you can eat, and understanding how the are digested by your body. Following is what you need to know about your blood sugar, and how carbohydrates effect your sugars after you eat.
Carbohydrates are found in more foods then you realize. Many people mistakenly think they are only found in highly sugared foods. What they don't realize is that they are also found in your sources of grains and breads, milk, (yes, milk!), and even in beans and some of the vegetables have them too. Once you have swallowed these types of foods, they are quickly broken down to glucose in your blood, and raises the sugar levels pretty quickly.
To aid your glucose to move from the blood into muscle and fat cells, so it can be used for energy, the pancreas secretes insulin. In a person without diabetes, their blood produces the insulin needed no matter how many carbs they have. But with a diabetic, this is not what happens. The pancreas is either slow in producing any insulin, produces no or little insulin, or is insulin resistant. Therefore, the rise in sugars begins. And this cycle is what damages organs.
Type 2's at the beginning, will still make some insulin. But what happens is that your body can't handle a big load of carbs all at once. This is where you need meal planning. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you figure out how many carbs you are allowed. The planning is also based on many factors, including your weight, activity levels, and age. One person may be allowed 75 grams of carbs per meal, while someone else might just be allowed 50 grams. For example, one can of soup, and 2 low fat gram crackers is about 50 grams right there.
If you are a type 1, or like myself, a long standing type 2, your body makes little to no insulin at all. You then need to inject enough to cover your carbohydrate servings in a meal. If you are like myself, and set on a fixed dose or doses of insulin daily, you will need a meal plan that matches your needs. If you take mealtime insulin as a separate injection, you will need to adjust your dose to cover the amount of carbohydrate you plan to eat.
So what do you eat, or should you eat? Whole grains, beans, and starchy vegetables provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and fibers essential to your health. Foods that are made with white flour, such as your regular pastas and any bread item that is not really a whole wheat source, have little fiber. Your fruits have vitamins and minerals, and fiber, and no cholesterol. Milk products will provide you with vitamins and minerals . Whole milk, sour cream, and cheeses have saturated fat though, which is bad for your heart. Another good thing about carbs too, is that many of them contain a large amount of fiber, and therefore leave you feeling more satisfied at the end of a meal.
Avoid eating anything really sweet, like candy very often. They are full of refined sugars, and contain lots of just empty calories. An occasional treat of a high-sugar snack is okay, but you should exercise some caution, and not go overboard. And another side effect of this overindulging is weight gain, which does not serve well in the end.
You also need to be aware that there is a glycemic index. This index ranks foods that are carbohydrate based. Foods that have high values such as granola bars, or some cereals tend to raise your glucose levels faster than those foods with the lower glycemic values. Different carbs will affect your blood glucose differently, and with good monitoring you will know which foods have the greatest impact while others don't.
Something else to think about is fat. Fat will slow down your body's absorption of carbohydrate so that you get more of a delayed rise in your glucose.
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In another article, I had touched on carbohydrates and glycemic index of foods. I wanted to elaborate further on the subject though, as this plays an important part in your healthy way of eating!
Your nutritionist should have discussed with you, how important it is to eat foods low in the glycemic index. The carbohydrates and glycemic index is simply a measurement of the effect that carbohydrates have on your blood sugar. A high carbohydrate food will break down very quickly in the bloodstream during digestion. And of course, as result, the sugars rise.
Your lower glycemic foods such as whole grains, break down slowly and therefore, the blood sugar does not rise as rapidly. Diabetic or not, low glycemic foods are a valuable healthy source to the body. Whole grains, (complex carbohydrates), give a slower rise to the blood glucose, and therefore the carbohydrates and glycemic index demonstrates this fact in your blood sugar reading which should be more stable.
Some doctor studying at a Canadian college, came upon the idea of the carbohydrates and glycemic index of food. He found that foods which were low on the scale are slower in the digestive system, and also easier on the liver.
When you eat foods with a lower glycemic rate, then chances are you will need less insulin. A food that is at least 60 or better is on the high side of this index. Many of your cereals are high in their carbohydrates and glycemic index rate, and will increase your glucose very quickly. This is yet another reason why carbohydrates and glycemic index are valuable knowledge.
You should try to eat foods that are between 55 or less. This is low in the carbohydrates and glycemic index, and has the least amount of effect on blood glucose. Most fruits and your vegetables have low ratings.
To find more information on glycemic listings of foods, I would advise anyone to look on the internet for a wealth of information available. On Amazon.com, type in "glycemic books," and you'll be surprised at the sources found there which are very helpful.
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