Glycemic Index 101
So, what is the Glycemic Index?
There seems to be some mystery surrounding the Glycemic Index (or 'GI'), and we wanted to clear it up for you! Simply put, the GI is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 1 to 100 based on their effect on blood sugar levels. When we digest carbohydrates ('carbs'), they break down, enter our bloodstream, and raise our blood sugar levels. Foods that break down quickly, like soda, tend to raise blood sugar levels quickly and have a high GI value. While foods that take time to digest, like beans or nuts, raise blood sugar levels more slowly when they turn into glucose and have a lower GI value.
Know Your Numbers
Being aware of the GI value of the foods you consume can be an integral part of maintaining ideal blood glucose levels. Because each food's GI values directly correspond to how they effect your sugar levels, people who monitor the GI values of their food are many times better able to determine what 'problem foods' to eliminate from their diet. Avoiding the spikes and valleys that come with consuming high GI value foods can lead to a healthier and happier life.
High GI value foods also tend to be significantly more addictive than low GI value foods. Easily digested carbs can also end up making you more hungry in the long run. Many people are familiar with the sensation of craving another candy bar, and because of this, a high GI value diet is usually a bad choice for those looking to lose weight or maintain steady glucose levels.
A simple way to find the GI value of any food is to type in "Glycemic Index" and whatever food is in question into Google online. For example, if I wanted to find the GI value of an apple, I could type into Google "Glycemic Index Apple" and the result would pop up!
Cutting back on refined foods like white rice, potatoes and white bread is a great start. These are high GI foods that end up being digested quickly and easily. A better option would be stone-ground whole wheat bread, beans, or even slow-cook oatmeal. It's not about making huge changes that you can't maintain- it's about supplemental changes you can easily make that will help you in the long term.
It's More Than Numbers
Of course, using the Glycemic Index alone isn't recommended. In general, just looking at the GI value of a food doesn't give the whole picture of what's 'healthy' and what's 'not-so-healthy'. So it's important to ask your nutritionist what would be best for you as an individual. They have the knowledge to determine what foods are best suited for your metabolism and health conditions.
We're experts at nutritional health here, and love helping people get on the right path by eating w.ell. If you have questions or want to reach out for more resources, give us a call anytime. We're here for you!
*This article is meant solely for educational and purposes and is not intended to give medical advice.