Glycemic Index and Diabetes

Yesterday I attended the Eighth Annual Diabetes Care Conference for Physicians. Marion Franz, MS, RD, CDE was one of the speakers. Her books Exchanges for All Occasions and Fast Food Facts are well known to many people with diabetes.

Marion stated the low-Glycemic Index (GI) diet does not affect fasting blood sugars. The evidence suggests that other nutrition interventions can lead to greater improvements in overall blood sugar control. When a variety of starches and sugars are selected, the glycemic response is identical as long as the total amount of carbohydrate is kept constant.

She also went on to say that weight loss does not always = improved blood glucose control. Beneficial effects on blood glucose occur before much weight loss occurs. Even if weight loss is not achieved, eating less is shown to have long-term beneficial effects.

Also physical fitness, regardless of body mass index (BMI), decreases risk of mortality from all chronic diseases. These were her recommendations:

Exercise Guidelines:

For fitness and reduced risk of chronic health conditions: 30 min/day of moderate physical activity (walking 3 – 4 miles/hr)

For prevention of weight gain: 60 min/day

To avoid regain of weight loss: 60 – 90 min/day

For children for healthy weight gain during growth: 60 min/day

Vigorous physical activity provides greater benefits.

Alcohol was also discussed. She recommends 1-2 drinks per day. Any more than that and you are on your own.

Bottom Line:

Monitoring total grams of carbohydrate, whether by carbohydrate counting or exchanges, remains a key strategy in achieving blood sugar control.

It is better to be fit, than thin.

Eat less.

Alcohol in Moderation.

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