So is it true that diabetics should go for 100% carbohydrates free diets or give up on grains for a lifetime?
NO, not at all! The nature of carbohydrates and how they influence your sugar levels is what you need to understand to make sure your insulin doses can be planned and you don’t enter a state of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. So how will you do that?
The Glycemic Index (GI) is what comes in handy. Its a number assigned to foods depending on their effect on your sugar levels, it tells you a way to differentiate between slower- acting good carbohydrates from fast acting bad carbohydrates that shoot up your sugar levels instantly. Generally, foods low on GI (slow acting carbohydrates) foster weight loss and are the ones all diabetics should choose, while those with higher values (fast acting carbohydrates) only help recover from high intensity exercise (long distance runners and athletes). This can be used as a preliminary guide to fine-tune your insulin dosage and carb -counting to keep your levels constant.
Don’t stop there; I feel the GI of foods just paints half of the insulin -carbohydrate picture, which the world likes to see. Personally, for yourself be precise of-
1. The amount of carbohydrates in your portion
2. How rapidly this portion of carbohydrate spikes your body insulin
This is calculated by the Glycemic Load (GL), which takes into consideration both the quality and quantity of carbohydrates – that is calculated using the formula- GI* Carbohydrates Per Serving/100.
A simple example:
An apple, GI value = 38; Carbohydrate per serve = 15g
GL= (38 x 15)/100
The GL of a typical apple is 6
On the other hand, bread: GI value = 74; Carbohydrates per serve = 22 g
GL= (74 x 22)/100
The GL of a serving of bread is 16
So which one would you opt for? Don’t you feel like your carbohydrate sources have been wrong throughout? That’s the sole reason I always tell my clients to take both the GI and GL into account and adjust their bolus insulin accordingly.
Another concept, which I would like to talk about here, is the “Insulin Index”- the one that is never discussed with diabetics. So I have many clients consuming high protein meals under the impression that sans carbohydrates their sugar levels wont shoot up. You are doing no favor to your body by doing this- so basically high protein food like beef, whey, soy protein powder, egg whites – will all trigger a relatively higher insulin response, post which if you are still taking your insulin dose- you are going to enter the “hypoglycemic” stage- these fluctuations do nothing but harm your body and wreck your system.
So the key with choosing your macros is balance. Make sure to always have good sources of protein coupled with complex carbohydrates and omega 3 fats – this could be flax seeds, grass fed butter or a simple tweak like having the yolks with your whites that can stable out your hormones making you feel much better instantly.
All you readers are free to ask me questions or send a snap of your plates on our account for a diabetic analysis to tell you more about your carbohydrates, meals and much more!!
So stay tuned for more on how your food can be altered for weight loss, improving insulin sensitivity and making it the ultimate treat for your taste buds.