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Food and Diabetes: Part Two

Updated on May 9, 2012

Glycemic Index

The fact that you have type II diabetes does not mean that you cannot enjoy food. It does mean that you will need to learn more about what your safe options are. One tool that I find useful when meal planning, is the Glycemic Index (GI)

The GI is a scale that ranks carbohydrate-rich foods by how much they raise blood glucose levels compared to glucose or white bread. Choosing foods that have a low GI rating more often than those that have a high GI may help you to:

• Control your blood glucose levels

• Control your cholesterol levels

• Control your appetite

• Lower your risk of getting heart disease

• Lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes

When you eat food that contains carbohydrates, the sugar (glucose) from the food breaks down during digestion and gives you energy. After you eat, your blood glucose level rises; the speed at which the food is able to increase your blood glucose level is called the “glycemic response.” This glycemic response is influenced by many factors, including how much food you eat, how much the food is processed or even how the food is prepared (for example, pasta that is cooked al dente – or firm – has a lower glycemic response than pasta that is overcooked).

I use the GI as a guideline not as an iron cast rule. It helps with menu planning and even to make choices on those rare occasions when I eat in a restaurant.

If you have read my earlier hubs you will notice that vinegar plays a prominent role in my cooking, especially in salads. The reason for this, besides, enjoying the flavour that apple cider vinegar adds is the effect it has on the in blood concentrations of insulin and glucose that come after a meal.

Carol Johnson a professor in nutrition at Arizona State University East Campus in a study in 2005 found that “a spoonful of vinegar helps the sugar go down” she claims that two tablespoons of vinegar before a meal even as part of a vinaigrette salad dressing — will dramatically reduce the spike in blood concentrations of insulin and glucose that come after a meal.

Johnson’s ran a study which divided the 29 volunteers into three groups. One-third of the 29 volunteers had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, another third had signs that they could become diabetic, and the rest were healthy. The scientists gave each participant the vinegar dose or a placebo to drink immediately before they ate a high-carbohydrate breakfast consisting of orange juice, a bagel, and butter.

A week later, each volunteer came back for the opposite premeal treatment and then the same breakfast. After both meals, the researchers sampled blood from the participants.

Analysis revealed that blood glucose and insulin levels were lower 30 minutes after eating the bread when it had been soaked in vinegar. Participants also reported feeling full longer when vinegar was added to the diet.

Dill pickles and pickled beets are two foods that help you add vinegar to your intake.

Dressing: A Recipe

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 ½ tbsp olive oil

1tbspbalsamic vinegar1

1 ½ tsp minced garlic

1 ½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper

Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, oregano and pepper. Pour over salad; toss to coat.

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