Glycemic Index Explained

While most people with an interest in dieting have heard of the Glycemic Index, it helps to have an explanation of what it is and how it works so you can plan your meals better.

Glycemic Index (GI) refers to a scale that ranks the level of carbohydrates in foods, from zero to 100. It gives an indication of how fast certain foods cause a rise in blood sugar.

People with diabetes can experience dangerous spikes in blood sugar if they eat foods high on the Index.

Weight Loss

It can be more difficult for people to maintain a healthy weight if they eat a lot of high GI foods. People with diabetes can make use of the GI to plan meals around predominantly low GI foods.

A balanced, nutritious diet does not mean that a person should only eat low GI foods. Knowing the GI of a food can help you make healthy meal choices.

Fortunately, the Nutrisystem diet program has its customers covered. The low Nutrisystem cost should not be easily dismissed because the program comes with a great many benefits, including that the food provided is generally low on the Glycemic scale.

What is the Glycemic Index?

glycemic indexThe GI is a score system that ranks carbohydrates from 0 to 100. The higher the number, the greater the blood sugar spike caused by the food is predicted to be.

It provides information about how the body processes them. Pure sugar and white bread both score 100.

Experts in nutrition used to categorize carbohydrates as simple or complex. Table sugar, for example, is a simple carbohydrate while beans and grains, on the other hand, are complex carbohydrates.

Although researchers believed complex carbohydrates were less likely than simple carbohydrates to cause blood glucose spikes in the past, more research has shown that the relationship between carbohydrates and blood glucose is much more complicated.

This complexity is accounted for by GI, which ranks foods according to their ability to raise blood sugar.

Research

Researchers gave volunteers with diabetes a 50g test food to assess their GI. Participants were also given a control food (e.g., white bread or sugar) that contained the same amount of carbs on a different day.

The blood sugar levels of both foods were then compared at regular intervals. GI is a method to evaluate the effects of different foods on blood glucose.

Higher GI foods raise blood glucose more quickly than those with lower GI. For this reason, low GI foods are preferred as they can lead to a reduction in blood sugar.

A person might feel hungry as their blood sugar drops. Consuming high GI foods can make it easy to eat too much. They will feel hungry again soon after they eat.

A diet with a low average GI can reduce the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. A low GI diet can reduce complications in people with chronic conditions and may prevent spikes in blood glucose.

GI Scores

These are how the scores are divided to make it fairly simple to see at a glance where certain foods lie in the Index.

According to the Glycemic Index Foundation, a GI score of 45 or less may provide the greatest health benefits.

However, this does not mean that a person cannot eat foods with a GI score below 45. A person should eat foods with a lower GI to balance out higher GI foods.

Summary

A person's GI can be a guide to making healthy decisions about their diet and nutrition.

A low GI diet can be beneficial for people who have diabetes or are trying to lose weight.

To eat a low GI diet doesn't necessarily mean avoiding high GI foods. A person should aim to maintain a healthy weight over time with a strong emphasis on fiber-rich foods that have a low GI.

A dietitian or your doctor can help you plan a healthy and delicious diet with a variety of low GI foods to suit your needs and tastes.


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