Dietary Choices

Healthy Heart | Diabetes

Healthy Heart | Diabetes

Those concerned about both heart disease and diabetes should focus on a healthy diet: one that is high in fiber and whole grains, with a variety of fruits and vegetables and that is low in fat, particularly saturated fat.

Diabetes, a metabolic disease in which a person has high blood sugar because either the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or because cells do not respond to the insulin that is produced. This high blood sugar produces the classical symptoms of polyuria (frequent urination), polydipsia (increased thirst) and polyphagia (increased hunger).

There are three main types of diabetes mellitus (DM).

  • Type 1 DM results from the body's failure to produce insulin, and presently requires the person to inject insulin or wear an insulin pump. This form was previously referred to as "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus" (IDDM) or "juvenile diabetes".
  • Type 2 DM results from insulin resistance, a condition in which cells fail to use insulin properly, sometimes combined with an absolute insulin deficiency. This form was previously referred to as noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) or "adult-onset diabetes".
  • The third main form, gestational diabetes occurs when pregnant women without a previous diagnosis of diabetes develop a high blood glucose level. It may precede development of type 2 DM.

Both those with diabetes and heart disease must be very conscious of health and diet choices. The American Diabetes Association recommends that 60–70% of caloric intake should be in the form of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are often based off the glycemic index, choosing foods low on the GI scale to stabilize blood sugar levels.

The glycemic index range is as follows:
Low GI = 55 or less
Medium GI = 56 - 69
High GI = 70 or more


Low GI
Wheat Pasta Shapes 54
New Potatoes 54
Meat Ravioli 39
Spaghetti 32
Brown Rice 50
White Long Grain Rice 50
Pearled Barley 22
Yam 22
Sweet Potatoes 48
Instant Noodles 47
Wheat Tortilla 30
Medium GI
Basmati Rice 58
Cornmeal 68
Taco Shells 68
Gnocchi 68
Baked Potatoes 60
Wild Rice 57
High GI
Instant White Rice 87
Short Grain White Rice 83
Tapioca 70
Fresh Mashed Potatoes 73
French Fries 75
Instant Mashed Potatoes 80

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