ESSENTIALS OF GLYCEMIC INDEX

Glycemic index is an established scale that ranks the number of carbohydrates in the foods you eat, from 0 to 100. It indicates the rate at which food makes blood glucose to rise. High glycemic foods cause blood sugar levels to rise quickly in people who are diabetic. They make it more difficult for them to maintain their ideal weight. That is why diabetics use the glycemic index to prepare their snacks and meals.

Using GI or glycemic index to make your food choices helps maintain a healthy diet. Proper foods based in their GI can help diabetics prevent blood sugar spikes. If you are a diabetic, it is best to know more about glycemic index so that you won’t have to make errors in your meal plans again.

The Definition

In the glycemic index, pure sugar has a 100 score. A food item that has a high GI score has quick-to-digest simple sugars, which are not healthy for diabetics. Healthy carbohydrates are those that have low GI scores such as grains and white beans. Experts used to believe that complex carbohydrates did not cause blood sugar spikes. Current studies discovered that there is a more complicated connection between blood sugar and carbohydrates. High GI foods elevate blood glucose quickly and then cause blood sugar to decline in the same way. The person then becomes hungry more quickly, making the person overeat. The feeling of fullness only lasts for a short period, so the person gets hungry again.

Consuming low GI foods may lower a person’s risk of having heart disease and diabetes. If the person already has diabetes, eating low GI foods reduces blood glucose spikes and the risk of developing complications.

The Scores

Here are the various GI scores you should always keep in mind:
• 55 or lower—low glycemic foods
• 56 to 69 –medium glycemic foods
• At least 70—high glycemic foods

A person who has an average GI score of 45 daily, that individual can reap great health benefits. This is what the Glycemic Index Foundation suggests. Even so, this doesn’t mandate that a person with diabetes can only eat low glycemic foods. Diabetics can balance their consumption of high GI foods with low GI foods.

Factors Affecting GI

Below are the known factors that affect GI scores in food:
• Processed foods have elevated GI (fruit juices have a higher GI than fresh whole fruit)
• GI becomes higher as it ripens (a banana or a mango)
• Cooking raises GI (pasta has a lower GI when cooked “al dente” than when it reaches a soft state)
• The combination of foods affects GI (adding fiber in the meal lowers the meal’s total GI)

Understanding what GI truly is, can help you make better meal and snack choices every day. Balance is the key to regulating your blood glucose levels. Before you start the change, it is best to talk to your doctor about a good GI-based meal plan.

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