A low-GI diet

wellbeing

A low-GI diet

India is referred to as the diabetes capital of the world with 60 million people diagnosed with the disease where one in every two adults with diabetes goes undiagnosed. It is the fastest growing disease in the country and a matter of serious concern as this invariably also impacts the overall economy.

The good news is that at an early stage, the disease can be curbed by introducing lifestyle and dietary changes. Medical experts across the world encourage pre-diabetics to adopt low GI foods in their diet.

Glycaemic index or GI is a scale that ranks food we eat by the amount of sugar it releases into the bloodstream. Protein or fibre-rich foods have low GI and are better regulators of blood sugar. A diet rich in such foods regulates metabolism and helps you manage weight better.

The index is quite simple to understand – foods are ranked on a scale of 0 to 100. A GI of 55 or less is considered low and is good for health. Foods that rank between 56 and 69 are medium, while those that rank higher than 70  are bad.

Examples of low GI foods are apple, banana, grapes, channa dal, urad dal, rajma, boiled peas, carrots and sweet potatoes. Replacing normal wheat flour with low GI atta helps in managing diabetes. One must however bring in a balance of low and high GI foods and eat a well-balanced meal.

Apart from diet, there are several other factors that affect the way the body responds to carbohydrates. Age, activity levels and the body’s metabolism play an essential role in determining how carbohydrates are processed. Also, the way a particular food is prepared can change its GI value.

All the above factors, combined with diet and exercise, help in managing total LDL cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

(The author is endocrinologist, Apollo Medical Centre, Bengaluru)

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