Glycemic Index & Diabetes


Ever wondered why are people with diabetes often advised to reduce rice and instead eat chapati?

Let us explain a concept called the glycemic index. Glycemic index (GI) is a number given to different types of carbohydrate food, to represent how soon they convert into glucose in the blood (blood sugar). Higher the GI number, faster is its release as blood glucose. GI Index ranges from 0 -100, with the Pure Glucose arbitrarily given a GI value of 100

Glucose that is released into the blood from carbohydrates is an immediate & important source of fuel for the body – especially the brain. However, if it stays above a maximum desired level (130 mg/dL) for a long duration, it can cause damage to many vital organs. Insulin (secreted by Pancreas) helps in regulating the blood sugar by transporting them to body cells

Carbs with GI less than 50 are considered as low GI food, and those between 55 – 70 is medium GI, while those above 70 are considered as high GI. White Rice has the GI value of 73, brown rice – 68 and wheat roti – 62

Now the golden question is – Does it really make sense to replace rice with chapati, if you are diabetic (Type 2)!? Well, the answer is YES & NO! And here is why –

YES! because the GI value of wheat is lesser than that of rice, and hence the blood sugar levels do not rise so soon and hence can be regulated easily

NO! Firstly because the GI value is dependent on the overall glycemic load of the food. For example, if you eat rice + fiber-rich vegetables + meat, the GI value of combined food is going to be much lesser. Our body understands the GI of the entire food (rice+veggies+protein etc); it does not digest each of it separately. Secondly, because diabetes is a condition where our body is slowly turning resistant to insulin. The right thing to do is to change lifestyle to improve the insulin sensitivity; reducing carbs or eating low glycemic carb is only a temporary solution, not a long term one.

So what is the long term solution?? Watch this video to know that –

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