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What are the benefits of a low-glycemic diet?

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Quick Answer

A National Institute of Health-funded study suggests that using the glycemic index to select foods may not improve insulin sensitivity, lower LDL lipid levels, or reduce blood pressure levels, states MedlinePlus. Studies of the benefits of low-glycemic diets have shown mixed results, confirms Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

The glycemic index is a system of assigning numbers to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much they increase blood sugar, explains Mayo Clinic. The glycemic index was first developed as a strategy for guiding food choices for individuals with diabetes. Foods that raise blood sugar levels slowly have a low glycemic index and include green vegetables, most fruits, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and bran breakfast cereals.

Low-glycemic foods should be the primary carbohydrate food choices for diabetics, according to WebMD. However, the amount of carbohydrate eaten is more important than the glycemic index of foods in helping control blood sugar. The glycemic index value of food is affected by method of preparation and processing, the ripeness of the food, how long the food is stored and other foods eaten at the same time. Individuals respond differently to the glycemic content of foods, so it is necessary to check blood sugar before and after eating a particular food to assess the effects on blood sugar levels.

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