The Glycemic Index

The glycemic index (GI) is a rating system that ranks foods according to their likelihood of raising blood glucose. The glycemic index scale ranges from 0 to 100, with 100 being pure glucose. Lower GI foods cause a lower or more gradual rise in blood sugar compared to high GI foods, which spike blood sugar faster.

While selecting low versus high GI foods may be helpful in regulating blood sugar control in people with diabetes, it is not a preferred therapy, and there are a number of limitations to the GI meal planning approach. There is no widespread agreement about the GI of various foods, and the comparison weight of 50 grams of carbohydrate used to determine a food’s GI is not always representative of typical serving sizes.

The Glycemic Index Photo Gallery

Considering just the GI of a food when considering whether or not to include it in the diet for diabetes may be an oversimplification and may result in the removal of healthful, nutrient-dense foods from the diet. Current recommendations for healthy meal planning with diabetes already encourage food choices that tend to be lower GI options, such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, and milk and milk products. Most people with diabetes will find that using the GI to select foods is not the most effective way to regulate blood sugar, and there is no evidence to suggest it is at all helpful in people without diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes

Women who have diabetes in their first trimester are considered to have type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is diagnosed in pregnant women in their second or third trimester when they do not clearly have overt diabetes. Previously, gestational diabetes referred to any degree of glucose intolerance first recognized during pregnancy. This definition has been replaced by the updated trimester-based diagnosis to capture a more precise detection and classification of gestational diabetes (ADA, 2015).

Diets with protein content >30 percent of total energy have been shown in small, short-term studies to reduce glucose and insulin concentrations, reduce appetite, and increase satiety. The DRI recommends a macronutrient distribution of protein in the range of 10 to 35 percent of energy intake, with 15 percent being the average adult intake in the U.S. and Canada (ADA, 2008). The RDA is 0.8 grams of good quality protein per kilogram body weight (on average, equating to approximately 10 percent of total calories) (ADA, 2008).

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