Once you start using the glycemic index to help control your diabetes and blood sugar levels naturally, you'll start
learning which foods tend to be the best choices for your personal body response. There are several commonalities with many foods though, which can help you get started with using the Glycemic Index.
1. High fiber foods. Foods high in soluble fiber tend to naturally be lower on the glycemic index. This is because fiber isn't absorbed by our body, and eating foods with fiber in it will help slow the absorption of simple carbohydrates, sugars and starches. This is very helpful to know if you have a few favorite foods which have high GI ratings. By adding some fiber to the meal, you can help reduce the overall impact that higher GI food will have on your blood sugar levels.
2. Protein foods. Like fiber, foods which are high in protein are quite low on the glycemic index and these can also help slow the absorption of carbohydrates into your system.
3. Acidic foods. Yes, like both fiber and protein, adding acidic foods to your meal such as lemon juice or vinegar can also help slow the absorption of carbohydrates. Try using vinegar based salad dressings, squeezing some lemon on your chicken or fish, or just mixing up a fresh tall glass of homemade lemonade to go with your meals.
4. Longer cooking foods are often lower on the GI scale. This is a difficult concept for many people to understand, but essentially any quick cooked or "instant" foods usually have much higher GI ratings than "old fashioned" foods do. This is because manufacturers must strip out most of the bulk from a food in order to make it possible to cook it in a minute or two.
Instant oatmeal for instance, has much less natural fiber and bulk in it. This is how the manufacturer is able to help you cook it so quickly. Natural old fashioned oatmeal however, has much more bulk and natural fiber - not to mention nutrition - because it hasn't be processed as highly as the instant variety has.
This same concept applies to any quick and easy, or instant foods. Instant potatoes for instance, have a higher glycemic index rating than boiled potatoes do. Easy processed boxed meals will also be more likely to have higher GI ratings than a home cooked meal does. So just by knowing how a food has been cooked can help you eat foods with lower glycemic impact.
5. Raw foods usually have the lowest GI. Eating fresh salad greens, brocolli, and celery is going to have a much lower glycemic impact on your blood sugar levels that cooking those foods will. Cooking is a form of processing. It's purpose is to break down foods partially, because they're considered more palatable. This partial breakdown of the food however, gives your body less work to do in order to use the various parts of that food. So it's easier for your body to extract the sugars, and thus your blood sugar levels can rise faster if your food has been cooked.
Now, not everything can be eaten raw of course. It's not likely you'll find someone who will eat raw oatmeal for instance. But having this general knowledge can help you with managing your blood sugar levels naturally, because it helps you make better eating choices.
Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.