*This is the final part of the 3-part series on the glycemic indices of different Indian foods and an overview of some of the best and worst foods for your sugar levels.*
In Part 1, we looked at different rice varieties and it GI values.
In Part 2 we focused on tiffins and the GI of common Indian breakfast dishes.
In this post, let us end this series with a summary of best and worst foods to eat for a south indian vegetarian diabetic.
But before we do that, let us examine millets (are they going to save us?).
What about millets?
People keep asking me about millets. Personally, I support bringing variety to one’s diet. But, how do they fair in the GI values- let us examine?
GI Values of Millets
Here are some GI values for common millets published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
- Varagu 68
- Varagu + Whole green gram 57
- Bajra 55
- Jowar 77
- Ragi 104
Bajra is the best of millets when it comes to GI.
Ragi (Nachni), which is a fantastic source of calcium, is awful in GI. My theory is that most consumption of ragi takes place in a powdered, drink form – which then gets absorbed quickly into out body requiring a spike in insulin to metabolize it.
What about the GI of puffed grains? Most puffed/popped grains are high in GI.
- Puffed Wheat: 67
- Puffed rice: 77
- Popped amaranth: 97
Ref: Glycemic Index.com
Yes, yes, the same amaranth that I love and tout so much in ‘High in Protein Popped Amaranth’ blog post, it is high in GI. Also, while the popped version is high in GI, the regular cooked amaranth numbers (in the form of chapathi) is 66.
Side note – Just because, something is high in GI, (like ragi), does not mean you banish it for the rest of the family – like kids, adults who are not at risk for diabetes etc.
Let us look at nuts. Here are some (really) good GI numbers for nuts:
- Coconut 42
- Cashews 22
- Peanuts 14
- Peanut Butter 22
- Nutella 33
Nuts – a source of protein and fats seems to be a great option for diabetics.
Interesting to Note – Nutella, which is basically a sugar factory in a bottle does not spike your insulin as much due to the presence of nuts and chocolate fats.
There is very little data on GI of low-carb veggies like greens, cabbage, cauliflower etc. Why? If an ingredient has very little carbs, or no carbs, they cannot be tested for GI. Or sometimes, the ingredient has just not been tested.
But here is a good example to understand how having more veggies will help you maintain your sugar levels.
Go to the Gylcemic Index website and type in cauliflower. Here’s what you will find:
- Cauliflower Topped Sheperd’s Pie : 21
- Lentil and cauliflower curry with rice: 60
Observe, the above data suggests- Just the addition of rice+lentils, brings the GI up from low levels to high levels.
Some other interesting data include:
- Carrot raw GI: 16
- Carrot peeled and boiled: 49
Just from raw- cooked, the GI jumps. Again, can’t emphasize enough, our need to increase the consumption of raw salads and veggies.
Let us look at the GI for fruits:
- Cherry 22
- Grapefruit 25
- Grapes 46
- Mango 51
- Oranges 42
- Papaya 59
- Banana 52
While I could not get the numbers for berries – In the book, How not to Die (highly recommend), the author recommends eating berries and states that it help lowers insulin surges in the body.
I realize that I am a nerd, and can go on and on about the numbers. But, many may not care for the details. Here is a summary:
- White, starchy refined grains
- Glutinous (sticky) rice, tapioca, etc
- Baked goods (anything that uses powdered grains)
- Rice bran, oat bran etc
- All daals (lentils) and beans
- Veggies (lots of greens), nuts, seeds, cheeses, fruits etc
OK, that’s it from me regarding Glycemic Indices…Post your thoughts and comments below!! Were you surprised with some of the data? Or did it line up with what you always suspected? Share your thoughts below…..
I am not a nutritionist/nurse/doctor. I just study numbers and report them. Consult your doctor before making any major changes to your diet.