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Glycemic Index
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With the occurrence of Type II Diabetes rising every day, including growing numbers of cases in youth, new information of how to prevent and even reverse this disease is welcome.

In the past, diabetes was casually called “sugar diabetes,” giving the impression that sugar intake was the main issue of the disease. Granted, the body's insulin response is definitely affected by sugar, but so are other things that we eat. In fact, more and more research is showing that the disease could almost be called “fat diabetes” because of the close relationship of fat intake with insulin response.

Dr. Neal D. Barnard has written a book outlining how to actually reverse diabetes without drugs, using a scientifically proven system. Barnard focuses on three steps to this reversal:

1) set aside animal products.
2) keep all oils, including vegetable oils, to a minimum
3) favor foods with a low glycemic index.

The first two steps are pretty easy to understand (Dr. Barnard's book gives many helpful details), but the third step is something that many people are not familiar with.

A Number

The glycemic index (GI) is simply a number assigned to foods showing how fast that food releases sugar into the bloodstream. If a food has a high GI (70 or over), that means it releases sugar into the bloodstream quickly. Lower GI (55 or under) foods have less effect on blood sugar levels.

Regarding grains, here's the bottom line about GI: processing grains into flour or using yeast to raise bread begins the digestive process before you begin eating. A whole grain that enters your body intact acts slowly in releasing glucose into the bloodstream. That's why white bread has a high GI. And when you eat oatmeal, choose the old-fashioned variety. Quick-cooking oats, while the same food, is already processed into smaller pieces and will have a higher GI than old-fashioned oats, which the body has to break down itself.

Here is a short list of foods with a low GI: beans, leafy vegetables, par-boiled brown rice, barley, bulgur, pumpernickel and rye breads (in contrast to wheat, especially white), sweet potatoes (in contrast to high GI baking potatoes), cooked whole grain cereal (in contrast to cold cereal). And would you believe that most fruits are low GI? A peach has the low GI of 28! The two exceptions in fruit are watermelon and pineapple, which are high GI. Here's some more good news: pasta is low GI!

To find a more complete list of the GI of foods, Dr. Barnard suggests going to www.glycemicindex.com And for a more complete look at Dr. Barnard's proven plan to reverse diabetes, get a copy of Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. The book is also a very good read for anyone interested in preventing diabetes or helping educate others about how to stop diabetes from gaining any more ground in our families and in our society.

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

Reversing Diabetes by Dr. Neal D. Barnard, MD. p. 49-55

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