Diabetes – Factors that Affect Blood Sugar Levels

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Processing

Glucose level blood testThe more a food is processed, the easier it is for the digestive system to break it down and absorb the carbohydrates, leading to a quick rise in blood glucose level.

For example, a smooth wholemeal bread has a higher GI* than a heavy wholegrain bread.

Preparation and Cooking

The more a food is chopped up and cooked the easier it is broken down and the carbohydrate absorbed. Again, raising blood glucose levels. For example, stewed apple is broken down more easily than raw apple.

Sugar

Different types of sugar are found in our foods and each are absorbed at different rates.

  • Glucose is absorbed very quickly and has a very high GI.
  • Fruit sugar or fructose is absorbed slowly and has a low GI.
  • Sucrose or cane sugar, common table sugar is a mixture of glucose and fructose and has a medium GI.

Starch

Made up of glucose joined together in chains. These chains vary in form. Some starches are broken down and absorbed more quickly than others sp its important to know which you are eating. For example, starch in short grain rice is absorbed more quickly than the starch in most pastas.

Fibre

glisemic indexHelps to slow down the digestion and absorption of starches so both the amount you eat and  and type of fibre is important. Whole-grains slow absorption in comparison to processed grains.

Fat – Foods with a low GI are often high in fat because fat slows digestion. A high fat intake is not recommended for people with diabetes.

*GI = GLYCAEMIC INDEX

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