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From America OnLine:

I've been reading about the glycemic index of different foods. When I asked our endo what he thought about this subject, he said he didn't believe it. He said to ask, "If your child wakes in the middle of the night with a blood glucose of 45, would you give her mashed potatoes, or fruit juice?"

If we believe the glycemic index, we would be better off giving her the mashed potaoes, or white bread, instead of orange juice or even table sugar? Of course, glucose best, but just say you were in the situation where you had to choose between orange juice and instant mashed potatoes, which would you choose?

The Glycemic Index is a method of meal planning which attempts to categorize foods by how much they raise the blood sugar, rather than by their carbohydrate, protein, and fat content, the method used by the American Diabetes Association Exchange Lists.

This approach is based on the observation that portions of different foods listed as "equivalent" on the Exchange Lists may not actually affect the blood sugar equally. For instance, orange juice may raise the blood sugar faster or higher than mashed potatoes containing the same amount of carbohydrate (sugar).

Furthermore, the same food may affect the blood sugar differently depending on what time of day it is eaten, or with which other foods it is eaten. The same food may raise the blood sugar more in one individual than in another. Liquids containing only "simple" sugars and no protein or fat (like orange juice) usually raise the blood sugar faster than foods containing more "complex" sugars, expecially if mixed with fat (like mashed potatoes).

There is a tendency to "overtreat" low blood sugars with more food than is necessary to raise the blood sugar back to the normal level. This is because it may take 15 to 20 minutes for the food to be digested and raise the blood sugar.

Although there are differences of opinion which is the best treatment for low blood sugars, I usually recommend treating with a small amount of a quick acting sugar such as juice, glucose tablets, or cake decorating gel, followed if necessary, by a slower, longer acting food. The blood sugar may continue to fall for several minutes while the food is being digested.


Original posting 7 Apr 96


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:52
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