Diabetics have a challenge of finding foods that are high in energy and have a low glycemic index (GI) value. The perfect energy foods for diabetics are ones that have low GI values, since it takes the body a longer time to digest the food into energy. This means that energy is released at a more consistent rate than with other foods and there is no risk of sudden rises in blood sugar levels.
Pulses are the seeds of lentils, beans and peas. Pulses are legume plants, and are an effective source of energy for diabetics because they have a low GI value, and also have a large amount of fiber, protein, vitamins and complex carbohydrates, the latter of which is especially important for endurance and long-term energy. They also have no cholesterol and low fat content, which make them a viable food choice for diabetics who are looking for high-energy foods and are hoping to maintain or lose weight. The best way to eat them is simple; soak the beans in water for six to eight hours prior to cooking them, or leave them in hot water for an hour. Cook them thoroughly until the beans taste tender, which will make them easier to digest.
Any foods that have complex carbohydrates are a good substitute for a more sugary diet that will give you immediate energy, but will be ultimately unsafe for diabetics. Everything should be eaten in moderation, but complex carbohydrate foods should consist of about half of a person’s daily calories, since complex carbohydrates tend to be high in starch. They should be balanced with vegetables and fruits. Examples of effective complex carbohydrate foods that are good for energy and endurance are bread, whole wheat pasta, potatoes, rice, cereal and carrots.
What to Avoid
Avoid simple carbohydrate foods as much as possible, even though they may give you the immediate energy boost you want. As a diabetic, it’s dangerous to eat a lot of anything that contains glucose, fructose, sucrose or galactose (the sugar found in milk). If you are training for an intensive physical activity, always consult a dietician before beginning a new diet. Your diet, as a diabetic, will depend on your situation–what kind of diabetes you have, and what your body can personally handle eating.
References and ResourcesThe All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook; Jackie Newgent; 2007
Reversing Diabetes Cookbook; Julian Whitaker and Peggy Dace; 2004