Saturday, January 5, 2013

The Glycemic Index: Need to Know Facts

Diets based on the glycemic index help regulate blood glucose levels and potentially lead to weight loss and and the reduction of chronic diseases.  Is a low glycemic diet right for you?

What is the Glycemic Index?

Basic definition:  The glycemic Index measures how much and how fast a food raises glucose levels in the blood.

More specific definition:  The glycemic index (GI) provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels (i.e. levels of glucose in the blood) rise after eating a particular type of food. The effects that different foods have on blood sugar levels vary considerably. The glycemic index estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food raises a person's blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of pure glucose. Glucose has a glycemic index of 100. A practical limitation of the glycemic index is that it does not take into account the amount of carbohydrate actually consumed. A related measure, the glycemic load, factors this in by multiplying the glycemic index of the food in question by the carbohydrate content of the actual serving. (source: Wikipedia)

The Mayo Clinic on the Glycemic Index (diet):  Proponents of the glycemic index diet, sometimes called a low GI diet, say that high blood sugar levels are linked to a variety of health problems, including diabetes, obesity and heart disease. They say that following a diet based on the glycemic index can help you choose foods that will result in weight loss and prevention of chronic diseases. But scientific evidence supporting the role of the glycemic index diet in weight loss remains mixed. And you might be able to achieve the same health benefits by eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough exercise.

You Might Want To Be On a Low Glycemic Diet if you need to monitor your blood glucose levels (i.e. you are diabetic or are pre-diabetic), you need (or want) to change your overall eating habits, and/or you don't want to go "low carb" or count calories.

The Glycemic Index Scoring System:
  1. High: 70 and up. Examples include instant white rice, brown rice, plain white bread, white skinless baked potato, boiled red potatoes with skin and watermelon.
  2. Medium: 56 to 69. Examples include sweet corn, bananas, raw pineapple, raisins and certain types of ice cream.
  3. Low: 55 and under. Examples include raw carrots, peanuts, raw apple, grapefruit, peas, skim milk, kidney beans and lentils.
No surprise that a lot of high glycemic foods are processed, taste sweet and/or satisfy that craving for "carbs".

For a free copy of hundreds of foods (excel spreadsheet) with their respective glycemic index and glycemic load values, please visit my resource page at

1 comment:

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