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Some people with diabetes use the glycemic index (GI) as a guide in selecting foods — especially carbohydrates — for meal planning. The glycemic index classifies carbohydrate-containing foods according to their potential to raise your blood sugar level. Foods with a high glycemic index value tend to raise your blood sugar faster and higher than do foods with a lower value.
The glycemic index diet has potential benefits but may be problematic as well:
It can be difficult to follow a glycemic index diet on your own. For one thing, most foods aren't ranked by glycemic index. Packaged foods don't generally list their GI ranking on the label, and it can be hard to estimate what it might be. Still, basic principles of the glycemic index diet may help you better manage and control your blood sugar:
If you have diabetes, the glycemic index diet is just one tool to consider when determining your diet. If you're interested in learning more, talk to a registered dietitian. He or she can help you make changes in your diet.
Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D.
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