Glycemic Index (GI) for Hyperglycemia

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

High blood sugar is much known as hyperglycemia. It is a condition of too little insulin or inefficient use of insulin in the body. The 3 most common symptoms of hyperglycemia are frequent thirst (polydipsia), frequent urination (polyuria) and hungry often (polyphagia). Long term of hyperglycemia can cause heart problems, blurred vision, blindness, nerves damage and kidney problems. It should be treated as soon as possible before complications happen among people with diabetes.

Frequent blood glucose testing and diet management are part of preventing hyperglycemia. Dietitian is a person who will prescribe diet planning to patients. If the patients with hyperglycemia are overweight or obesity, the dietitian may reduce the calories need based on patients’ weight and formula used. As a basic knowledge, patients are encouraged to take carbohydrate meals that have lower Glycemic Index (GI).

Not all carbohydrate food contains the same sugar level. The GI affects the fluctuations of blood glucose level in which a high GI tends to cause high glucose level or hyperglycemia. GI is defined as a rank food on a scale of 1 to 100 as it reflects the type of carbohydrates in a particular food. Low GI foods have a ranking of 55 or less, medium GI foods have a ranking of 56 to 70 and high GI foods have a ranking of more than 70. Foods that do not contain carbohydrate like meats and fats are not included in GI.  For diabetics, lower GI is recommended as it helps controlling glucose level although it is not a primary strategy in meal planning. 

High GI food is much faster to be digested and absorbed in the body resulting to an increasing blood sugar level faster. Thus, patients with hyperglycemia are encouraged to take lower GI food as it is digested and absorbed more slowly to cause blood sugar increases gradually. Usually, processed foods have high GI compared to unprocessed foods. Here are the examples of food with low, intermediate and high GI.

Low GI – apple, banana, grapes, mango, baked beans, chickpeas, lentils, mung beans, sponge cake, all bran breakfast cereal, brown rice, full fat milk, skim milk, low fat milk, yogurt, soymilk, fructose and lactose.

Intermediate GI – pastry, soft drinks, instant porridge, wheat biscuits, white rice, basmati rice, capati, idli, ice cream, sweetened condensed milk, papaya, pineapple, honey and sucrose. 

High GI – waffles, lychee, doughnut, sports drink, cornflakes, jasmine rice, glutinous rice, dates, watermelon and glucose.

Glycemic Index (Type 1 Diabetes),
Clinical Practice Guidelines, Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, Malaysia
How to Minimize Hyperglycemic Toxicity,


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