GI index

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JennyMBarnwell 7 posts

I did my DAFNE course last September and it has been life changing for me. After 30 years as a diabetic I am now making more informed decisions on my insulin doses and my control has definitely improved dramatically. However, I know i am still learning and one area that I am unsure about is the GI index of foods, specifically of vegetables. I certainly count the carbs in my potatoes but what about the carrots, marrow or cabbage etc. I have been told I don't need to count the carbs in pulses and beans but they do affect my blood sugar to a degree. I guess I need to learn more about GI index and if so, can you advise on a good source of information? Many thanks

alturn DAFNE Graduate
NHS Grampian
68 posts

Congrats on Dafne, I found the same effect.

I found the “GI & GL counter” booklet published by Hamlyn quite useful when first diagnosed. I don't use it any more as I avoid high GI foods and know what to avoid.

I count carbs in “starchy” foods – e.g. potatoes, rice, bread, pasta, cereal, oats but not in vegetables when consumed along with starchy food and protein. I think if you don't have protein and increase the vegetable content to compensate you may have to allow for some carbs. But everyone is different, so you may need to find by trial and error what suits you. And some vegetables may affect you differently.

As for beans and pulses, if they are a main component of a meal e.g. beans-on-toast then I would count them. If they are part of a meal e.g. kidney beans in chilli or soup, then I tend to ignore or make a small adjustment based on relative ingredients, current levels, activity etc.

Hope this helps,

JennyMBarnwell 7 posts

Dear J
Thank you so much for that. It's really helpful. I am due an HbA1c test in a month's time and I am actually looking forward to it!!! It has been a source of dread for years. Just amazing.

Warwick DAFNE Graduate
Diabetes Australia-Vic, Melbourne, Victoria
483 posts

I'm vegetarian, so beans and pulses were a great source of protein prior to my T1D diagnosis, but I've cut right down on them as they affect my blood sugars horribly. They are very low GI, but I find that they are still increasing my BGLs many hours after my QA runs out. I can go to bed after a meal of beans/chick peas/lentils etc with BGLs in the target range and wake up in the morning with BGLs of 15-20.

I could probably get around it by only having them for lunch and having a correctional dose at dinner time for the anticipated spike. I could also switch to a different QA that is slower to work such as Humalin R, but I haven't really experimented with this.

Just posting in case you find the same.

JennyMBarnwell 7 posts

Thanks Warwick. I am not a vegetarian but as I get older I am eating less meat and more vegetables and pulses. I have definitely noticed my blood sugars rising overnight if I have a carbohydrate rich evening meal as compared to a low carb evening meal. As you say, it seems the food is still being digested after my evening QA has run out. I take NovoRapid which has a duration of 3-5 hours. Jenny