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If you have type 2 diabetes, you know it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels. One way to achieve this is by planning your meals based on the glycemic index (GI) of the ingredients.

What is the Glycemic Index?

glycemic index and blood sugar

According to the American Diabetes Association, “the glycemic index measures how a carbohydrate-containing food raises blood glucose.” Controlling your type 2 diabetes includes choosing foods with a low to medium GI. The GI ranges are:

Low Glycemic Index 55 or less
Medium Glycemic Index 56-69
High Glycemic Index 70 or more

The key to managing your diabetes is controlling your blood sugar. Eating foods with a lower glycemic index will help to keep your blood sugar levels consistent instead of spiking. If you are going to eat a food with a high glycemic index, just be sure to incorporate other foods with a low to medium GI in that same meal.

Thankfully there are plenty of foods you can incorporate into your diet to keep your blood sugar levels manageable.

Superfoods and their Glycemic Index

It can be hard at first to decide which foods you should include in your daily meal plan. The American Diabetes Association has made it easier by outlining their list of “superfoods.” These foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. They also have a low to medium glycemic index. Explore the below table to see the superfoods, examples of each, and their glycemic index.

Superfood Example Glycemic Index
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables Kale | Spinach | Collards 32 | 0 | 1
Beans Black Beans | Pinto | Kidney 30 | 39 | 27
Sweet Potatoes Boiled | Cooked 44 | 94
Citrus Fruit Orange | Grapefruit | Lemons | Limes 43 | 25 | 25 |24
Berries Strawberries | Blueberries | Blackberries 41 | 54| 25
Tomatoes 15
Fish Salmon | Herring | Trout | Albacore Tuna 0
Whole Grains Barley | Millet | Popcorn 50 | 71 | 55
Milk Whole Milk | Skim Milk | Soy Milk 41 | 32 | 44
Yogurt Plain Yogurt | Yogurt with Fruit 14 | 36
Nuts Peanut | Cashew | Almonds 14 | 21 | 15

For a list of common foods and their glycemic index visit the University Health News Daily website and the Harvard Health Publishing website.

This for That: Replacing High Glycemic Foods with Lower Glycemic Alternative

If you are looking for a way to transition your diet to include more lower glycemic foods try making these swaps.

  • Bagels Instead of a bagel for breakfast, try eating oatmeal made with rolled oats
  • White Bread When making a sandwich or toast, try using whole grain or multigrain bread
  • Watermelon Try a different fruit like apples, strawberries, or cherries
  • Instant Mashed Potatoes Try cauliflower, broccoli, or sweet potato as a side
  • Corn Chips If you are looking for a snack try greek yogurt, unsalted nuts, or a piece of fruit like an apple or orange
  • White Rice Substitute white rice with quinoa or brown rice

Platte River Medical Clinic is here to help you manage your type 2 diabetes. If you are in need of a primary care provider, please consider our providers. You can learn more about them here. Call 303-659-7600 to schedule an appointment today!