If you want to lose weight, eating foods that keep your blood sugar down may help. Doing so may also lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and stroke. This doesn't mean you have to avoid all carbs. You just need to carefully choose the foods you eat that contain carbs.
Low-glycemic Index Foods
The glycemic index measures how much a particular food affects your blood sugar level. Foods that are low on the glycemic index, with scores of 55 or below, are those with the least effect on blood sugar. Try munching on peanuts, raw apples or carrots; including lentils or kidney beans in your main dishes; and drinking skim milk with your meals. You don't have to give up foods with a higher glycemic index, as some of these are very nutritious. Eating these foods along with foods that have a low glycemic index or along with foods that contain protein will lower the overall glycemic index of your meal and keep your blood sugar levels from spiking.
High-fiber foods also limit large increases in your blood sugar levels, although not quite as well as low-GI foods, according to a study published in "The Journal of the American Medical Association" in December 2008. Soluble fiber, especially the beta-glucan found in oats, is particularly helpful for controlling your blood sugar level. Choose whole-grain products over those made with refined grains, eat oatmeal for breakfast, have broccoli or carrots as a side dish and make a mixed fruit salad for dessert to increase the soluble fiber in your diet.
Consider drinking tea along with your meal, since this can have blood sugar benefits. A study published in "The European Journal of Nutrition" in February 2008 found that non-obese people who regularly drink tea have lower fasting blood sugar levels. Stronger green tea may be more beneficial for controlling blood glucose levels than weak brews of green tea, according to another study, published in "The Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition" in January 2009, so you may want to let your tea steep a little longer before you drink it.
What you eat isn't the only thing that affects your blood sugar levels. If you want to keep them down, space out your meals at regular intervals, eat the proper portion sizes and keep your meals well balanced between fat, protein and carbs. Include some exercise in your daily schedule for even more of an effect on your blood sugar.
- Food and Agriculture Organization: Chapter 4 - The Role of the Glycemic Index in Food Choice
- MayoClinic.com: Glycemic Index Diet: What's Behind the Claims
- MayoClinic.com: Diabetes Management: How Llifestyle, Daily Routine Affect Blood Sugar
- Diabetic Medicine: High β-Glucan Oat Bran and Oat Gum Reduce Postprandial Blood Glucose and Insulin in Subjects With and Without Type 2 Diabetes
- Journal of the American Medical Association: Effect of a Low–Glycemic Index or a High–Cereal Fiber Diet on Type 2 Diabetes
- European Journal of Nutrition: Effects of Black and Green Tea Consumption on Blood Glucose Levels in Non-obese Elderly Men and Women From Mediterranean Islands (MEDIS Epidemiological Study)
- Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition: The Association between Concentrations of Green Tea and Blood Glucose Levels
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.