UAE | Health

How does glycemic index affect you?

Looking at the glycemic index of your food can help you make a big difference to your eating habits

  • By Noor Al Khatib Social Media Editor
  • Published: 11:06 July 24, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit:
  • Ghida Arnaout, a dietician at Live’ly diet and nutrition centre in Dubai

Glycemic Index

An easy tip to help you make better meal time decisions is to consider the glycemic index (GI) of the food you’re about to eat. Rated on a 100-point scale, the smaller the GI of your food, the bigger and better the benefits will be for you.

“Glycemic index is a number that indicates how fast a type of carbohydrate can raise our blood sugar. The higher the glycemic index of a certain food, the higher our blood glucose level will be after consumption of that food,” Ghida Arnaout, a dietician at the Live’ly diet and nutrition centre, said.

“When your blood sugar levels spike, the pancreas release insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps carry the glucose inside the cells of the body so that it can be used as energy. If blood sugar remains high, the brain will signal the pancreas to produce more insulin in order to convert excess glucose into stored fat; thus dropping your blood sugar level to a low,” Arnaout explained.

This means foods with high GI are broken down by your body much faster than low GI foods, making you feel hungrier much quicker. Instead choose low GI foods, which will take your body longer to break down and keep you feeling full for longer.

Similarily, the Glycemic Load (GL) of a food item shows how much it will raise blood glucose levels. To find the GL of an item, simply take the number of grams of carbohydrate in the serving, multiply it by the glycemic index, and divide by 100.

Fact Box

Factbox Diabetes

Dietician Ghida Arnaout provides readers with healthy suhoor tips for people with diabetes, but first and foremost she recommends that “people with diabetes should always consult their doctors when fasting to avoid any complications.”

Delay suhoor for as long as possible and check your blood sugar level before that meal.

Opt for slow digesting foods with fiber that will last for as long as eight hours. This will decrease cravings and cause less sugar spikes.

Avoid eating the following: Simple carbohydrates such as white breads and pastas, refined carbohydrates such as sugars and juices, fried foods, and caffeinated beverages.

Put these items on your plate: Whole wheat breads, grains, oats, lentils, beans and brown rice. Add vegetable and a piece of fruit such as bananas to add fiber to the meal.

Nuts such as almonds have been proven to control blood sugar so have five or six pieces at suhoor.

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