The secrets of controlling weight and blood sugar through what you eat.
You are familiar of food calories and that you should restrict calories to manage weight and blood sugar well. There is another important but less known factor called Glycemic Index (GI). It is a number associated with a food that indicates the food's effect on a person's blood sugar. This number compares the blood sugar elevation to that produced by glucose which has the GI of 100. For example if a food item has a GI of 50, it raises the blood sugar by 50% of what pure glucose of the same weight would raise.
Why is this important?
When the sugar in the blood rises, insulin is released from the pancreas and drives the sugar from the blood into the cells. The sugar in excess of the energy needs is converted into fat and leads to weight gain. So higher the blood sugar rise, higher the chance of weight gain. The blood sugar falls provoking hunger and on eating a high GI food, the blood sugar rises producing a vicious circle of high, low sugars and hunger.
This yo yoing of blood sugar is a significant reason of weight gain and uncontrolled blood sugars and is seen commonly in people taking insulin injection or sulphonylurea group of diabetes medicine.
So it is important to eat foods that are low in GI and preferably below GI of 50. The GI of the commonly used foods are available on searching the internet. Here are some
Weight and blood sugar can be controlled with the ABCD of dietary advice.
A. Amount: It should be calculated as per the basal metabolic rate and activity. Your doctor or dietitian can help you calculate it. If you are overweight or obese reduce 500 - 1000 Calories per day from the requirement to lose weight gradually.
B. Balance : Food should be well balanced and wholesome with fruits, vegetables, proteins and healthy fats.
C. Combine and Compensate : Always include low GI foods in your diet to compensate for the high GI foods.
D. Different foods. Eating the same food daily may be monotonous. Vary the food using food exchanges taking care of the calories and the GI.