Diabetes and GI

The facts at a glance

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Nutrient Rich
Mushrooms are a nutrient-rich food for people with diabetes.

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Low GI
Mushrooms help keep blood glucose levels normal and have a very low GI.

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Keep blood pressure normal
By providing potassium and virtually no sodium (salt), mushrooms help keep blood pressure normal.

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Perfect weight control
Mushrooms are perfect for weight management as they are low in kilojoules and help appetite control.

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Glycaemic Index & Diabetes

Diabetes is a common condition in which the blood sugar levels or, more accurately, the blood glucose levels, rise above a healthy level in the blood. Estimates suggest that 900,000 people in Australia have diabetes, with the majority having type II diabetes.

You may have heard of the Glycaemic Index (GI), which is the measure of the effect a carbohydrate-containing food has on your blood glucose (sugar) levels. The effect is an indication of the speed at which the carbohydrate in food is digested and absorbed into the blood.

A rapid rise in blood glucose shows that carbohydrate in food has been digested and absorbed into the blood quickly. People with diabetes are encouraged to eat mainly low GI foods, foods with only a minor effect on blood glucose levels.

The dietary advice for people with diabetes is to eat mainly least processed foods, such as fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, lean meats, low-fat dairy, nuts and whole grain cereal foods. Those foods that are the least processed generally have the least effect on blood glucose levels.

Mushrooms won't raise blood glucose

Mushrooms have a low carbohydrate level. As the carbohydrate content of mushrooms is so low, the mushroom has a GI close to zero. In other words, eating mushrooms has no real effect on blood glucose levels, something that is of benefit to people with diabetes.

Low GI Medium GI High GI
Breads, cereals Multigrain bread, porridge, All-Bran, muesli Rye bread, pita bread Crispbreads, water crackers
Rice, pasta Pasta, spaghetti Gnocchi, Doongara rice Rice
Mushrooms All types
Vegetables, legumes Carrots, baked beans, chick peas Sweet potato, pumpkin Potato
Fruit Orange, banana, apple, pear Pineapple, cherries Watermelon
Dairy foods Milk, yogurt
Snacks Nuts, chocolate Muesli bars, potato chips Confectionery, biscuits, cereal bars
Spreads Marmalade Honey, golden syrup Glucose
Drinks Fruit juice Some soft drinks Sports drinks
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Mushrooms help to lower blood glucose

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney found that mushrooms helped lower blood cholesterol and blood glucose in laboratory animals, possibly due to the fibre in mushrooms, which is different to that found in vegetables (Jeong 2010). Further research in humans indicates that powdered mushroom reduces the blood glucose response after a meal, especially in young women (Marsales 2014).

In addition, mushrooms provide other very useful health benefits to anybody with diabetes. For example, they are cholesterol free and are virtually fat free and, with abundant antioxidants.

They also contain compounds that lower blood cholesterol, and therefore, may help to reduce your risk of heart disease, which is more prevalent in people with diabetes.

As mushrooms are a source of potassium and virtually salt-free, they also help keep your blood pressure healthy. As they are low kilojoule they will never end up on your waist. The mushroom is ideally suited for weight control because it is low in fat, low in kilojoules and has the ability to reduce your appetite and lower the risk of over-eating during the day.

References

  • Sang-Chul Jeong, Byung-Keun Yang, Yong-Tae Jeong, Rezuanul Islam, Sundar Rao Koyyalamudi, Gerald Pang, Kai Yip Cho, Chi-Hyun Song. White button mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) intake alters blood glucose and cholesterol levels in diabetic and hyperlipidemic rats. Nutrition Research. 2010; 30(1): 49-56.
  • Marsales H, Williams BT, LaMacchia ZM, Rideout TC, Horvath PJ. The effect of mushroom intake on modulating post-prandial glycemic response. Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology vol 28 (1) Suppl 647.48, April 2014