The right blend of carbohydrates is important for diabetics to help control the natural production of insulin, which ultimately affects blood sugar levels. If these glucose levels are either too high or too low, diabetics can face serious health risks. As a leading provider of in-home care in Columbus, OH, we understand the importance of a well-balanced diet for senior diabetics and wanted to share some information about how diet can affect overall health and wellness.
Understanding the Glycemic Index
The relationship between carbohydrates and blood sugar levels is measured by the glycemic index. The system, categorized by high, medium and low GI ratings, compares foods to a reference point. The higher the rating, the higher that particular food will raise blood sugar levels. Ideally, diabetics should consume foods that fall within the low or medium GI.
- Low GI (55 or below on the index) – Stone-ground whole wheat bread, steel-cut oatmeal, pasta, barley, sweet potatoes, non-starchy veggies and most fruits
- Medium GI (56-69) – Pita bread, whole wheat bread, brown or wild rice and quick oats
- High GI (70 or higher) – Bagels or white bread, instant oatmeal, macaroni, russet potatoes, popcorn, pineapples and saltine crackers
The GI of foods is different when consumed with other foods then when eaten alone. This means that higher rated foods can be consumed with lower rated foods to achieve a healthy balance.
Carbohydrate counting, an alternative to the GI index, involves finding the right balance of diet, exercise and medications to control your diabetes. Carb counting can be as simple as tracking how many carbohydrates are consumed with each meal, with 45-60 grams of carbs per meal being an acceptable goal for most diabetics. Select portion sizes and foods to match your loved one’s desired carb count per meal, making adjustments based on factors like how fast he or she burns calories and what activities may be done before or after a meal.
If you find the glycemic index or carb counting a little confusing, consider scheduling an appointment with a nutritionist for dietary recommendations better tailored to your loved one’s individual lifestyle. There are also helpful mobile apps that can help seniors and their caregivers better track what is consumed on a regular basis such as Carbs Control.
Care for Your Aging Parent or Loved One
Successfully controlling diabetes with diet can be a challenge. However, it’s a goal that’s entirely achievable for most people, not to mention especially beneficial to both diabetics and individuals identified as being at risk for developing diabetes. If your aging parent or loved one has trouble staying on the right track with diet or exercise, consider help from a professional caregiver from Home Care Assistance of Columbus. While we are recognized as the Columbus live-in care experts, our caregivers are also available on an as-needed basis, assisting seniors with daily activities and providing support and companionship. See if a caregiver is the right fit for your loved one by calling 614-481-8888 and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with a friendly Care Manager.