What foods affect blood sugar levels
The level of glucose in the blood is also known as the sugar level. In itself, the presence of this microelement in the body is not scary. On the contrary, we need glucose for a full existence. Under the influence of insulin, a hormone of the pancreas, it is converted into energy. We can say that glucose is a natural fuel for the body.
However, this trace element has an insidious side. Its level is extremely unstable and changes due to the products entering the body. Some can cause a sharp jump in blood sugar, others slow down the absorption of the element. How diet affects glucose levels, we will tell in this article.
Why does sugar level change?
Carbohydrates are the main source of glucose. As soon as the element enters the blood, the pancreas begins to produce insulin. It is a hormone that helps transport sugar from the blood to other cells. According to the rate of transformation into sugar, two types of carbohydrates are distinguished: fast and slow. The former enter the bloodstream sharply and in a short time, the latter gradually saturate the body with energy.
For example, if you eat a bun, a source of fast carbohydrates, then your glucose levels will rise in a short time. But gradually they will return to normal thanks to insulin. The more carbohydrate foods in the diet, the higher the load on the pancreas. As a result, the body may simply not have time to produce insulin, which means that an excess of glucose is formed in the body.
What is the glycemic index
There is a special indicator that captures the effect of foods on blood sugar levels. It is called the glycemic index (GI). This characteristic shows what proportion of glucose from the product will enter the bloodstream. Accordingly, the glycemic index of glucose itself is 100 units.
The glycemic index is divided into three categories:
- high – from 70 units;
- medium – from 56 to 69 units;
- low – below 55 units.
Foods with a high glycemic index provoke a sharp jump in blood glucose. However, the effect does not last long, so after a sugar outbreak, there is a decline and the feeling of hunger is exacerbated. This does not mean that foods with a high glycemic index are unhealthy. This means that they quickly provide a surge of strength, but not for long.
For example, if you need to quickly cheer up, then such products will do the job. By the way, athletes often resort to high-glucose snacks during a marathon.
With a low glycemic index, glucose levels will gradually increase over several hours. Such products will not provide a quick burst of energy, but they will satisfy the feeling of hunger for a long time.
Food GI table
An extensive base on the glycemic index was collected by the University of Sydney . Moreover, in it you can find indicators not only of products, but also of ready-made dishes. We suggest that you familiarize yourself with the glycemic index of the most common foods.
Glycemic index of cereals
|long grain rice||60|
Glycemic index of dairy products
Cheeses are not listed in the table, as it is difficult to calculate their glycemic index. If there is no sugar in the products, then the carbohydrate content in them is low. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most natural cheeses do not exceed the range of 0 to 10 units.
|Low fat natural yoghurt||35|
Glycemic index of legumes
Glycemic index of vegetables and herbs
Glycemic index of fruits and berries
Glycemic index of nuts and dried fruits
|Roasted sunflower seeds||35|
Glycemic index of sweets and snacks
|Bitter chocolate (70% or more)||30|
|Sweet carbonated drink||70|
Glycemic index of baked goods and bread
|Whole wheat bread||65|
Glycemic index of some prepared foods
|Pasta cooked al dente||40|
|Pasta with cheese||65|
How to normalize sugar levels
It is desirable to monitor the level of glucose in the same way as the amount of vitamins in the blood. The first thing that helps regulate performance is a balanced diet. Carbohydrates in the diet for each day should be 45-50% of the total amount of food. At the same time, the ratio of fast and slow carbohydrates is best kept within 1:3. The remaining 50-55% of the diet must be filled with proteins and fats.
And although foods with a high glycemic index are not dangerous in themselves, it is desirable to strictly regulate their quantity. In addition, herbal teas (especially rose hips, blueberry or currant leaves), a glass of pumpkin juice without sugar, sauerkraut, cinnamon in combination with low-fat sour-milk products will help to adjust the sugar level. However, be careful, these remedies do not solve the problem. If you have calculated the deviation of the glucose level from the norm, then be sure to consult a doctor.
Monitoring the state of the body is very important, because health is our main value. For nourishment, we need a lot of trace elements, and glucose is one of them, but you need to be able to correctly compose your diet. Let’s eat mindfully and study the effects of different foods on our bodies together!