Eating Well: Glycemic Index

Glycemic index (GI) is the relative rate in which a particular food will raise blood sugar levels. Each food has an index, with the food control being glucose, at a GI of 100.  Here is a table with the glycemic indices of a few common foods:

FOOD

GI

FOOD

GI

Glucose

100

Carrot

71

Potato, Baked

85

Instant Rice

91

Shredded Wheat

83

Banana

53

Cheerios

74

Apple

38

All Bran Cereal

38

Milk

27

White Bread

72

Bagel

72

Whole Wheat Bread

71

Almonds

0

Rye Bread

65

Peanuts

21

Instant Oatmeal

66

Kidney Beans

28

 

Anything with a GI over 70 is considered high-glycemic, and a GI under 55 is considered low-glycemic.  Glycemic Load (GL) is another measure that takes GI and multiplies it by the grams of carbohydrate in a particular food (this is based on calories).  We will introduce GL in an upcoming blog post; but a hint for you is that carrots would have a low GL but a high GI.

 But what does a “high glycemic index” actually mean? 

When high-glycemic foods are consumed, there is a subsequent rise in blood sugar levels in the body; when this happens repeatedly, the body becomes less sensitive to insulin. This insulin resistance not only leads to weight gain, but eventually to hypoglycemia and what is called “metabolic syndrome.” If one continues to eat a high-glycemic diet, they can also experience high blood pressure, abnormal triglycerides, increased blood clotting, significant weight gain, and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. This leads to premature aging and increased belly fat. It is very difficult to feel good and lose weight while eating a high-glycemic diet.

In many cases, depending on how long you have been eating a high-glycemic diet and other health issues, insulin resistance is reversible. Once you learn how to prepare and enjoy low-glycemic foods, you can get your energy, weight, insulin sensitivity, and health back! Once you learn not to fear carbohydrates, unlike many popular diets, you can find the best carbohydrates to provide your body with the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it desires.

 

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