The last article was all about diabetes. This article focuses on some important mathematical parameters which can come in handy for diabetics. This article analyses the pros and cons of some parameters.

The first one is called the glycemic index. This number represents the ability of the particular item to increase the blood glucose level after a time period of 2 hours after a meal. This value is calculated by considering the area under the graph of the rate of increase of glucose vs. time.
The glycemic index values for some of the prominent foods are listed below.

White rice64
Wheat Bread71
White bread100
Vegetables15 (approx.)

A higher value indicates that the rate of increase of glucose is high and vice versa. This is really useful for diabetics especially that of type-1 who have to be stricter in their diet. So they must avoid food with a high glycemic index.

The glycemic index is based on the carbohydrate content of the food. The addition of fat, protein, and fiber reduces the glycemic index. Also adding salt and acid like vinegar, lime juice reduces the glycemic index. There are other phenomenons that affect the GI value of an item.

• Processing effect- there are cases where processed foods have more GI when compared to home-cooked foods. So mostly avoid them!!
• Method of preparation- the methods of preparation also affect the GI. For example, grinding the food in a grinder breaks the outer sheath of cereals and their digestion becomes faster.

A GI value of less than 55 is normal. A value around 55-69 is moderate and values above 70 are high. A value of above 60 is not recommended for diabetics that much.

On the whole, the glycemic index is a good tool for diabetics to track their diet. Properly tracking the GI and having a balanced diet based on GI can prevent type-2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), and other cardiac problems. A lot of athletes are tracking their diet with GI.

fruits have relatively higher GI when ripened

However, there are some disadvantages to this method which are displayed below.

  1. Quantity isn’t involved- the calculation of glycemic index doesn’t involve the amount/quantity of food consumed.
  2. Physiological conditions- the effect of some conditions like ripening are not controllable. The ripening of fruits increases their GI.
  3. Variations within brands- there are different GI values for different varieties of rice and wheat.
  4. Count- the GI value is provided for only an individual food, but in most of the cases, food items are taken in combination. So in these situations, the GI method fails to work.
  5. Individuality- this method is based on the ability of digestion and this varies from person to person. Hence this may not be that reliable when this condition is to be considered.

There is another metric known as the glycemic load. That is calculated by taking the value of GI and multiplying it with the number of carbs present in the respective food. A sample calculation is shown below.
Rice has a GI of 64. 100g of rice consists of 28g carbs. So the GL is

GL= (64/100)28= 17.92

A GL value of less than 11 is low, between 11 and 20 are moderate and values above 20 are high. The advantage of this method is that it takes in the quantity of the food apart from its GI value. The significance of this is given below.

Consider a diabetic person. He gets an uncontrollable desire to eat a donut. The GI of donuts is 76. This is HIGH and he must avoid it. But what happens if he consumes only a small portion? Assume he takes a small bite (around 30g). This contains 16g carbs. So the GL is GL= (76/100)16= 12.16
which is normal. Hence using this scenario we can understand the importance of quantity.

Salad, Fruit, Berry, Healthy, Vitamins
incorporating elements with low GI

On the whole, the GI and GL are some parameters that are in handy for diabetics who need to follow strict diet regulations. Moreover, following these methods can lead to a good lifestyle and can prevent major fatal diseases


Check out the glycemic index for standard foods

Click to read the previous blog