People with diabetes are advised to include carbohydrates at every meal as part of their daily eating plan. Carbohydrate is not a food, it is a nutrient found in a lot of different foods, and it is found in different foods in different amounts. It is important to consider both the amount and the type of carbohydrate eaten, as both of these affect blood glucose levels.
The glycaemic index (GI) of food gives an idea of how quickly different foods containing the same amount of carbohydrate raise blood glucose levels. Food can be described as having a low, moderate or high GI. The glycaemic index, is measured during 2 hours.
|High GI||Low GI||GI Load (GL)|
|Carbohydrates that break down quickly during digestion, releasing glucose rapidly into the bloodstream, and raising blood glucose levels.||Carbohydrates that break down more slowly during digestion, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream allowing for more even blood glucose levels.||Glycaemic load takes into account how much carbohydrate a typical serving of food contains as well as its GI of that particular food or meal.|
People with diabetes are recommended to largely eat foods with a low GI, however the total amount of carbohydrate eaten at one time is more important than GI for maintaining blood glucose levels within the ideal range.
Note: protein also has an effect on the GI of a food and GL of a meal
Neither the GI nor the GL take into account the effect of fibre. Dietary fibre is found in fruit, vegetables, legumes and many cereals, it adds bulk to meals without calories, making us feel full, as well as slowing the process of digestive process.
To make healthy eating simple, - The New Zealand Ministry of Health encourages eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, wholegrain foods and legumes such as beans, lentils and peas.
NZ Institute of Health and Fitness