All carbohydrates—bread, rice, potatoes, and other starchy foods—break down into sugar during the digestive process. Whole grains like brown rice accomplish this task slowly, while refined grains like white flour and white rice can cause a sugar spike because they metabolize quickly. Anyone with a sugar limitation needs to approach the entire subject of carbohydrates with care and balance. It makes no sense buying bread made without sweetening if the person eats the whole loaf.
The glycemic index is a system that ranks how quickly sugars and other carbohydrates are absorbed into the blood stream. Foods like white bread, white rice, breakfast cereals, and potatoes have high glycemic indexes even if no sugar is added. Most protein foods and vegetables have low glycemic indexes (if you don’t slather them with sauces or condiments). If a food has a high glycemic index, avoid it or limit it to extremely small portions, balanced with other nutrients. An open sandwich using white bread is better than a closed sandwich using two slices of white bread. In either case, genuine whole grain bread is a better choice. Scientists do not agree on how important the glycemic index is, but it is generally quite handy if you are responsible for feeding a diabetic or hypoglycemic person.
Despite general indexes and rules of thumb, everyone’s body is different. If you help a diabetic measure blood sugar, you will quickly come to know what foods they do well with and which foods to avoid. If the meal leaves the diabetic with a feeling of well bring and satisfaction, you’ve probably gotten it right.