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Diabetic Food Pyramid
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For those who are adjusting a diabetic lifestyle the diabetic food pyramid can be an invaluable resource to help you balance out the foods you eat each day. If you are on a calorie controlled diet then amounts that you will consume may vary but the food pyramid can help you work out a meal plan for yourself that balances the main food groups that fit into the diabetes food pyramid. The diabetes food exchange list can also help you to identify different foods that can be exchanged on a daily basis to keep your diet from becoming boring.

Main Food Groups in the Diabetic Food Pyramid

Starches: Includes breads, rice, lentils, beans, grains cereals, pasta, crackers as well as starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn. Whole grain starches contain more fiber, vitamins and minerals and thus are recommended. Also they take longer to digest and are known as slow -release or have a low Glycemic Index as they help to keep blood sugar levels steady.Brown rice, oats, barley, and whole wheat breads and products
Vegetables: Carrots, , peppers (capsicum), green beansgreen leafy vegetables like bok choy, spinach and silver beet, celery, cabbage, kale, broccoli. Green leafy vegetables are especially recommended.
Fruits:  Apples, watermelon, mango, oranges, strawberries, dried fruit, tinned fruit, fruit juice. Fresh fruit is recommended over juices.Especially fresh berries are high in antioxidants and contain valuable fiber.
Meat and meat substitutes: Chicken, beef, fish, tinned tuna, lamb, tofu, eggs, beans. Salmon is highly recommended as it contains omega 3 fatty acids which reduce the risk of heart disease, lower L.D.L levels (bad cholesterols). For these who don’t fancy fresh fish, tuna and canned salmon are good replacements. Beans are a great low-fat source of protein and fiber and are great to make you feel full as well as keeping blood sugar steady.
Dairy: Low fat or fat free options are recommended for diabetics. This includes milk, yoghurt , cottage cheese, cheese. Don’t cut out dairy as calcium and vitamin D as essential nutrients, stick to low–fat varieties.
Fats and Sweets: Includes sweet items like cake, pies, cookies, pastries, doughnut, ice cream. Fats includes butter, mayonnaise,margarine, avocado, bacon, salad dressing.
Other Foods  and Drinks to Consider: Even though the diabetic food pyramid doesn't show drinks, you do need to consider the drinks that you are consuming and whether they carry empty calories which are calories without any nutritional value.
Drinks to cut back on are: Carbonated sodas, even diet varieties of these drinks, or Alcohol.
Thirst is related to your body’s need for water, and is the best way to rehydrate your body. For flavored drinks consider herbal teas or juice without any sugar added like apple or cranberry juice.

Food Glycaemic Index (GI) using white bread with a GI of 100 as reference
Bagel, white 103
Hamburger bun 87
Melba toast 100
Oat bran bread 68
Rye kernel bread 66
Pumpernickel 71
Rye flour bread 92
Linseed rye bread 78
Wheat bread, white 100
Wheat bread, high fibre 97
Wheat bread, gluten-free 129
Wheat bread, wholewheat 99
Wholewheat snack breads 105
Pita, white 82
Mixed grain bread 64
Breakfast cereals  
All-bran 60
All-bran with raisins 74
Cocoapops 110
Cornflakes 119
Cream of wheat 100
Muesli 80
Oat bran 78
Oatmeal 87
Puffed wheat 105
Rice bran 27
Rice crispies 117
Shredded wheat 99
Special K 77
Cereal grains  
Barley, pearled 36
Barley, cracked 72
Barley, rolled 94
Bulgur wheat 68
Couscous 93
Maize meal 97
Millet 101
Sweet corn 78
Rice, white 81
Rice, Basmati (high amylose content) 83
Rice, brown 79
Rice, instant, boiled for 6 min. 128
Rice, instant, boiled for 1 min. 65
Rice, parboiled 68
Rice, wild 81
Rye kernels 48
Tapioca boiled with milk 115
Cakes and biscuits  
Butter biscuits 79
Cake, angel food 95
Cake, banana loaf 67
Cake, sponge 66
Coffee cookies 113
Crispbead 116
Croissant 96
Crumpet 98
Digestive biscuits 84
Doughnut 108
Graham crackers 106
Maizena cookies 95
Muffins 88
Oat cookies 79
Pastry 84
Pizza base with cheese 86
Rice cakes 117
Rye crispbread 93
Shortbread 91
Waffle 109
Water biscuits 102
Wheat crackers 96
Cold drinks, sweetened 97
Cordials 94
Lucozade (energy drinks) 136
Fruit and fruit juices  
Apple 52
Apple juice 58
Apricots, fresh 82
Apricots, canned in syrup 91
Apricots, dried 44
Banana 76
Cherries 32
Fruit cocktail 79
Grapefruit 36
Grapefruit juice, unsweetened 69
Grapes 62
Kiwi fruit 75
Mango 80
Orange 62
Orange juice 74
Pawpaw 83
Peach, raw 40
Peach, canned 79
Pear, raw 51
Pear, canned 63
Pineapple, raw 94
Pineapple juice 66
Plum 34
Raisins 91
Spanspek 93
Sultanas 80
Watermelon 103
Baked beans, canned 69
Beans, dry 40
Broad beans 113
Butter beans 44
Chickpeas 47
Chickpeas, canned 60
Kidney beans 42
Kidney beans, canned 74
Lentils 41
Lentils, green, canned 74
Lima beans, frozen 46
Soya beans 25
Soya milk 43
Split peas, boiled 45
Milk and dairy products  
Ice cream 87
Ice cream, low-fat 71
Milk, whole 39
Milk, skim 46
Milk, chocolate, sweetened with sugar 49
Milk, chocolate, artificially sweetened 34
Custard 61
Yoghurt, low-fat, fruit, sweetened with sugar 47
Yogurt, low-fat, artificially sweetened 20
Yoghurt, plain 51
Fettucine 46
Gnocchi 95
Instant noodles 67
Macaroni 64
Macaroni and cheese 92
Ravioli, meat filling 56
Spaghetti, protein-enriched 38
Spaghetti, white, boiled 15 min. 59
Spaghetti, boiled 5 min. 52
Spaghetti, durum 78
Spaghetti, wholewheat 53
Vermicelli 50
Snacks and sweets  
Jelly beans 114
Lifesavers 100
Chocolate 70
Chocolate bars 91
Energy bars 81
Maize snacks 105
Muesli bars 87
Popcorn 79
Potato chips 77
Peanuts 21
Pretzels 116
Bean soup 92
Green pea soup, canned 94
Lentil soup, canned 63
Split pea soup, homemade 86
Tomato soup 54
Honey 104
Fructose 32
Glucose powder 138
Glucose tablets 146
Maltose 150
Sucrose (table sugar) 92
Lactose 65
High-fructose corn sugar (used as sweetener) 89
Maltodextrin 107
Beetroot 91
Carrots 101
Parsnips 139
Peas, dried 32
Peas, green 68
Potato, instant mash 118
Potato, baked 121
Potato, new 81
Potato, boiled 80
Potato, boiled, mashed 104
Potato, microwaved 117
Potato chips, deep-fried (French fries) 107
Pumpkin 107
Sweet corn 78
Sweet potato 77

(Adapted from: “The Glycemic Indices of Foods.(2000). Krause, pp 1165-1167)

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