How Carbs Affect Blood Sugar? Glycemic Index
People who are diabetics often deal with problems related to diet because they want to maintain their blood sugar level. Studies have shown that carbohydrates release more sugar level in blood than protein and fat. However, one cannot escape the consumption of carbohydrates as it is present in our day to day meal. But how carbs affect blood sugar when it enters our body? You can find your answer here.
Before understanding the effects, we need to know what exactly are carbohydrates and how it is classified. Carbs are the essential food group which is often found in the form of starch, sugar or fibre in different food items such as fruits, milk, vegetables, cereal and grains.
Initially, it was classified as simple (composed of sugar with simple chemical structure) and complex (composed of sugar with complex chemical structure). Later, it was difficult to determine its effects on blood for which the Glycemic Index was determined. Glycemic Index is a ranking between 0-100 assigned to food according to their effects on the blood glucose level. Food with the high glycemic index, such as white bread, cause a rapid change to the blood sugar, whereas, food with a low glycemic index, like whole oats, results in slow changes.
Factors affecting the glycemic index of food
- Even though carbs are naturally present in the food items, still there are some factors which can affect its glycemic index. Here is a list of such factors.
- The content of fibre- people prefer high-fibre food because it usually digests slowly leading to a low rise of sugar level.
- Processing of food- the refining and milling is done to remove germs from the grains but raises the level of the glycemic index.
- Ripening- unripped fruits and veggies often contain a lower glycemic index than ripped ones.
- Fat and acid content- food containing fat and acid is translated into sugar steadily.
- The physical form of food- It is normally said that the whole form of food is better than processed ones. This is because coarsely ground grains digest gradually as compared to fine grounds.
As carbohydrates enter our body, it is broken down into smaller pieces which turn into sugar. Pancreas, located behind the stomach, stands responsible to produce insulin which further transfers sugar from the blood to cells to consume it as energy. The person with diabetes often has a pancreas that produces insufficient insulin or the insulin produced is being used inefficiently. When food with refined carbohydrates is consumed, the particles are broken with speed resulting in loads of glucose in the blood. This burdens pancreas to produce enough insulin. Eventually, the pancreas becomes unable to stand the load of glucose which increases the level of sugar in the blood. This scenario often takes place with simple carbohydrates which is why consuming complex carbs is beneficial as they produce glucose slowly.
So, next time you eat something, do check its carbohydrate content to stay healthy as a little fluctuation in carbs can fluctuate sugar level in blood.
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