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The Glycemic Index is a numerical Index that ranks carbohydrates based on their rate of glycemic response (i.e. Glycemic Index values are determined experimentally by feeding human test subjects a fixed portion of the food (after an overnight fast), and subsequently extracting and measuring samples of their blood at specific intervals of time. Therefore, when you eat foods that cause a large and rapid glycemic response, you may feel an initial elevation in energy and mood as your blood sugar rises, but this is followed by a cycle of increased fat storage, lethargy, and more hunger! Although increased fat storage may sound bad enough, individuals with diabetes (diabetes mellitus, types 1 and 2) have an even worse problem. The theory behind the Glycemic Index is simply to minimize insulin-related problems by identifying and avoiding foods that have the greatest effect on your blood sugar. Although most candy has a relatively high Glycemic Index, eating a single piece of candy will result in a relatively small glycemic response. The table below shows values of the Glycemic Index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) for a few common foods. Some proponents of the Glycemic Index (including many diet books authors) would like you to believe that GI and GL are all that matters when selecting which foods to eat. Scarcity of GI data - Although methods for determining Glycemic Index have been in existence for more than 20 years, GI values have so far only been determined for about 5% of the foods in ND's database. Wide variation in GI measurements - The above Glycemic Index table shows a single value of GI for each food.
GI values affected by preparation method - The Glycemic Index gets even trickier when you take into account the changes in value that occur in response to differences in food preparation. GI values affected by combination with other foods - While tests for Glycemic Index are usually done on individual foods, we often consume those foods in combination with other foods.
Individual differences in glycemic response - The rate at which different people digest carbohydrates also varies, so there are some individual differences in glycemic response from person to person. Reliance on GI and GL can lead to overconsumption - It's important to remember that the Glycemic Index is only a rating of a food's carbohydrate content. Apples have a GI of 38 (as shown in the table above), and a medium-size apple, weighing 138 grams, contains 16 grams of net carbohydrates and provides a Glycemic Load of 6. As you consider the strengths and weaknesses of the Glycemic Index, it's important that you don't lose sight of the original goal. If your low-carb diet restricts the amount of fruits and vegetables that you eat, you may not be consuming enough Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and Dietary Fiber, which are much more abundant in plant-based foods.
To overcome the boredom of the low-carb diet, you can turn to the new low-carb versions of foods that are now being offered in many health food and grocery stores. If you consider yourself a vegetarian, you'll find that it's very difficult to follow a low-carb diet, since nearly all low-carb meal plans focus on the consumption of meats and other animal-based foods.
A few years ago, a group of researchers from the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia performed an interesting study in which they compared the satiating effects of different foods.
The results of this study clearly indicated that certain foods are much better than others for satisfying hunger.


Because of the limited size of the Satiety Index study, there's some uncertainty in the accuracy of the values that were recorded for each food.
This suspected relation between bulk and satiety may seem obvious and trivial, but it opens the door to a very powerful theory - that it may be possible to predict satiety by knowing the nutrient composition of the food! The underlying problem for so many people is called insulin resistance – your body makes insulin, but it’s not working.  Even though it’s been happening to record numbers of individuals, it’s not a club you want to be part of, because it usually happens when you are overweight, too sedentary, and have a diet that is too high in sugar and refined carbohydrates. The two most important steps you can take to stop prediabetes from turning into diabetes, are to exercise (30 minutes of exercise each day can reduce the risk for diabetes by 58%), and start eating lower glycemic index (GI) carbs. Lower glycemic index foods are usually less refined and full of sugar, and therefore they help to keep your blood sugar more stable. Even if you don’t have diabetes or prediabetes, whole grains and lower GI foods are still a good choice, because they’re usually much healthier overall, and higher in fiber and vitamins.  Low GI foods also tend to keep you fuller, longer, which means less calories consumed, and healthier weight. Seemingly similar foods can have very different GI values, so it's not always possible to estimate GI from either food type or composition. Generally, any significant food processing, such as grinding or cooking, will elevate GI values for certain foods, because it makes those food quicker and easier to digest. The addition of other foods that contain fiber, protein, or fat will generally reduce the Glycemic Index of the meal. In addition it has been shown that one person's glycemic response may vary from one time of day to another. Any diet that greatly or completely restricts our selection of foods, can lead to increased cravings for the eliminated foods or boredom with the allowable food selections. These researchers, lead by Suzanna Holt, include some of the same individuals that pioneered much of the work on the Glycemic Index. The researchers used white bread as their reference point, and arbitrarily assigned it a "Satiety Index" of 100.
And if that is true, some form of the Satiety Index could prove to be a more flexible tool for assessing diet than the Glycemic Index. If you feel like you need to follow a specific diet from a book, by all means pick one up, but but you can also get good results by just making it a point to swap low glycemic index carbs for any that are high GI. Glycemic Index uses a scale of 0 to 100, with higher values given to foods that cause the most rapid rise in blood sugar. While many sweet and sugary foods do have high GI's, some starchy foods like potatoes or white bread score even higher than honey or table sugar (sucrose)! Because of this, some coaches and physical trainers recommend high-GI foods (such as sports drinks) immediately after exercise to speed recovery.
Well, simply because your body's glycemic response is dependent on both the type AND the amount of carbohydrate consumed.
ND agrees that the Glycemic Index is a marvelous tool for ranking carbohydrates (and much better than the old "simple" and "complex carbohydrate" designations).
The GI of this "mixed meal" can be estimated by taking a weighted average of the GI's of the individual foods in the meal.


As opposed to low-GI diets, they are also very easy to plan and monitor, since carbohydrate counts are known for all foods.
This, of course, is not a problem specific to low-carb diets, but affects all diets that limit the range of foods that you consume. Unfortunately, though, the elevated cost of some of these specialty food items can add considerably to your food bill.
The result of their study, "The Satiety Index of Common Foods", was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, September 1995. Foods that did a better job of satisfying hunger were given proportionately higher values, and foods that were less satisfying were assigned lower values. They noted that a common feature was shared by the foods with the highest Satiety Index values. Individuals who eat low GI foods for breakfast tend to have lower blood sugar level even through lunchtime.
There's nothing wrong with that methodology, but individual measurements can vary a significant amount. It's possible to supplement these missing nutrients, but there are also many phytochemicals present in plant-based foods that we are just beginning to learn about. In this study, the researchers fed human test subjects fixed-Calorie portions of thirty-eight different foods, and then recorded the subjects' perceived hunger following each feeding.
Among the most satisfying foods they tested were plain boiled potatoes, raw fruits, fish, and lean meats. More recently, an effort to expand the Glycemic Index has been made by Jennie Brand-Miller and her associates at the Human Nutrition Unit of the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia. Therefore, foods like pizza often create a higher glycemic response than the simple weighted average of the ingredient GI's would predict. This fact alone means that a diabetic can not rely completely on the Glycemic Index without monitoring his own blood sugar response.
Based on Glycemic Load alone, you would have to believe that the peanuts were a better dietary choice than the apple. Subjects that consumed the prescribed portion of these foods were less likely to feel hungry immediately afterward.
But if you take a look at the Calories contained in these two foods, you'll see that the apple contains approximately 72 Calories, while the peanuts contain more than 500!
Foods that did the poorest job of satisfying hunger included croissants, donuts, candy bars, and peanuts.



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