Learning what works

The glycemic index hasn’t yet been embraced in the U.S., at least not by a lot of the big agencies that are major opinion leaders in matters dietary — such as the American Diabetes Association, which has at times given a nod to the importance of GI, but doesn’t seem to include any info at all about it in its educational materials. And there is very little methodical GI testing in the U.S., such as is done Australia by the University of Sydney & in Canada by the University of Toronto. It’s one of those areas in which we Americans are lagging far behind. I don’t know how much of this is just politics, or entrenched attitudes, or what, but I was damn sickened when my friend S, recently diagnosed with diabetes, was told in a diabetes class at Providence Hospital here in Anchorage that “it’s the quantity of carbohydrates that counts, but don’t worry about the type or source of your carbs.”

I’ve been telling her different, thanks to my own reading about G.I. I would reckon that in the U.S., education about GI & GL is going to come mainly in the form of people like us finding it works, sharing what we learn with those we care about (I’ve been passing my books around to several different friends), telling our health care providers & getting them to learn about it, & pressuring the market to change.

Meantime, a lot of American packaged foods, including breads, simply haven’t been tested. Naturally the University of Sydney is going to focus first on testing those foods which the Australian populace is eating, rather than testing foods from the U.S. that few Australians eat. So, again, we have to use our own common sense. The Low Glycemic Eating Guide that one can get from the Yahoo group of that name is a good common sense guide (thank you to those who created it!), & the various books also give a good idea of which raw foods are low GI & which are high.

So far, as I learn my way about this way of eating, I’ve been trying to go by the general guidelines about what foods are low or high GI, & supplement it by using a glucose meter to check on the effects that various foods have on me. I’m learning that with more starchy foods, even those that are low or medium GI like basmati rice, oatmeal, & pastas that my servings need to be smaller than what I am used to, because my (old) normal serving sizes make the glycemic load too high. I want to do a little experimentation using the glucose meter to see what adding a little vinegar or lemon juice to certain meals can do for my post-meal blood glucose, as I’ve heard acidic foods slow down stomach empyting, & other tricks like that to keep my blood sugars stable. My goal is not only to prevent myself from getting diabetes but to remove myself from the prediabetic category altogether, through low GI eating, overall healthy dieting, & weight loss.

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