What’s in your food?

What’s in your food?

Knowing exactly what you are eating at times can be difficult. This video below discusses some of the different aspects of a healthy balanced diet to help you make more informed decisions. You can download a transcript of the video below by clicking here.

To download a transcript for this video please click here.

A little extra on glycemic index

You may have heard of glycaemic index, but might not have been sure what it was or how it relates to diabetes. We’ve included some additional information below if you would like to find out more.

Glycaemic index (GI) is a rating of carbohydrate-containing foods based on the overall effect on blood glucose levels. Slowly absorbed foods have a low GI rating, while foods that are more quickly absorbed have a higher rating. This is important because choosing slowly absorbed carbohydrates, instead of quickly absorbed carbohydrates, can help even out blood glucose levels when you have diabetes.

Foods are given a GI number according to their effect on blood glucose levels. Glucose is used as a standard reference (GI 100) and other foods are measured against this. See some examples of foods with lower GI and higher GI below.

Lower GI foodsHigher GI foods
Fruit such as cherries, apples, pears, plums and most non starchy vegetablesFruits such as watermelon, dates, kiwi fruit or vegetables such as parsnips
Long grain rice, whole wheat pastaInstant rice, mashed potatoes or a baked potato
Oat bran bread, canned chickpeas, canned baked beans, macaroniFrench bread, bagels or french fries
Low fat yoghurt, fat free milkHoney, doughnuts, white bread, jelly beans

For more information about which foods are high GI and which are low GI, visit here.

Does glycaemic index matter?

A recent review showed that HbA1c (a measurement of average blood sugar levels over 3 months) can be lowered by 0.5 per cent in people with diabetes who adopted a low GI diet. Some studies have shown people who have a high GI diet tend to have higher HbA1c levels however, two recent trials have shown following a low GI diet has no benefit compared to following the American Diabetes Association dietary education.

Slow-acting carbohydrates reduce the peaks in blood glucose levels that follow a meal, and this may have a role in helping to prevent or reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Research has shown that lower GI diets have also been associated with improved levels of ‘good’ cholesterol and a lower incidence of heart disease.