As of late, there has been much mention about the glycemic
index. People everywhere talk about it and food advertisements
use it liberally to promote certain products. But just what is
this glycemic index and what does it mean for you? Why is it
that people are resorting to it as a means of weight loss and
overall healthy eating choices? What is the reason that the
G.I. is becoming the staple food guide of the free world?
The glycemic index is a means of measuring the effects of
different foods on your blood sugar levels, in other words, how
rapidly carbohydrates (sugars) are absorbed. Foods with a high
G.I. release quickly into your blood causing a rapid rise in
your blood sugar levels. Foods with a low G.I. release slowly
into your blood helping to keep your blood sugar levels more
stable and steady.
When a high G.I. food is eaten and blood sugar levels rise
rapidly, there is a high response of insulin (a hormone that
regulates blood sugar levels). The insulin works quickly to
deposit this excess blood sugar into muscle cells in the form
of glycogen (stored energy), and when the glycogen stores are
full, the rest is stored in the fat cells as, yes, you guessed
it, fat! Because of the over-response of insulin caused by the
over-response of blood sugar, the blood sugar is quickly
depleted to lower than normal levels, causing that burst of
energy you felt to crash quickly.
Low G.I. foods which release at a slower rate do not cause such
an insulin response. This allows for a blood sugar level
stabilization over a longer period of time because a slow
release of blood sugar means a slow release of insulin meaning
that it can regulate blood sugar levels more accurately. And as
you may have guessed, there is much less of a deposit to the fat
cells also! This is why when you eat a low G.I. food your energy
levels stay up longer and you don't feel hungry too soon after
eating like you do with high G.I. foods.
The glycemic index is measured by assessing how fast of a
release of sugar different foods have into the blood verses the
rate of pure glucose (blood sugar itself). A score of 100 has
been assigned to the rate of release of glucose. If a food has
a release or index of 70 or higher, that means it has a rapid
release and is a high G.I. food and should be avoided. If a
food has an index of 56 to 69 it has a somewhat rapid release
but not an extreme one and is considered a medium G.I. food and
should be limited. Any food with an index of 55 or less has a
slow release and is considered a low G.I. food and is good to
consume any time.
Now combining high G.I. foods with low ones in an overall meal
will affect the G.I. of the whole meal. This is known as the
glycemic value. If you had a potato with a G.I. of say 90 and a
chicken breast with a G.I. of 0, the glycemic value of the meal
would be 45, in the low G.I. range. So when you are trying to
stay on the low side of the G.I. which you should be, you do
not have to completely eliminate all high G.I. foods as long as
you only consume them in combination with low ones to lower the
glycemic load of the meal as a whole.
Examples of high G.I. foods are any white flour bread, cakes of
muffins, white potatoes, ripe bananas and honey.
Some medium G.I. foods are red potatoes, jellies and jams, bran
muffin's, whole wheat bread and most tropical fruit's.
Some low G.I. foods are most vegetables, most northern fruits,
yams and sweet potatoes, grain cereals, any meats and dairy
products, popcorn and most nuts.
Now keep in mind that calories still do count and that means
that just because you are eating foods with a low G.I. doesn't
mean that you can eat as much as you want. Staying with mostly
low G.I. foods will help keep blood sugar levels stable and
will help control your appetite but in the end you still need
to watch your overall calorie count to lose or maintain weight
and not gain weight.
About The Author: Jim O'Neill gives you tons of valuable
information on the subjects of weight loss, fitness, and
nutrition to make it easy for you to live a healthy lifestyle.
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low glycemic food index
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