Not all carbohydrates are created equal! The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative ranking of carbohydrate-rich foods on a scale of 0 to 100 according to how fast they raise blood glucose levels after eating. Carbohydrates with a GI of 55 or lower are considered “low GI foods” because they are more slowly digested, absorbed, and metabolized. They cause a lower and slower rise in blood sugar levels and hence, a lower and slower rise in insulin levels.
Conversely, high GI foods cause marked fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. Eating low GI foods is an excellent way to NOURISH LIFE and a secret to long-term vitality. Why does Glycemic Index matter?
High Glycemic Index foods have been shown to increase the risk of:
- Type 2 Diabetes: Typically developing gradually over a number of years, cells of the body (including muscle and brain cells) stop responding properly to insulin.
- Heart Disease: Low GI diets have been shown to reduce some markers of blood vessel disease and may reverse insulin resistance.
- Weight Gain: Eating foods low on the GI help keep hunger at bay. Blood sugar plunges stimulate appetite and decrease resistance to processed foods.
The Glycemic Index is determined by how 50 grams of a digestible carbohydrate affects the blood glucose levels of ten healthy people for two hours following ingestion. The same ten people consume an equal portion of the “reference food” (which can be glucose, or white bread typically) and their blood glucose is measured for two hours. An average of the ten people is taken to achieve the GI value.
If a food is ranked high on the GI, then it has readily available carbohydrates that will be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. But, because this value is not always based on standard serving sizes, the Glycemic Load (GL) must also be considered. The GL is also a variable as to whether or not a food will cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and anything under a 10 GL is considered low. When blood sugar spikes, the body releases extra insulin to transport the glucose into the cells. A low GL is an excellent indicator of how your blood glucose will respond. For example, Watermelon has a high GI of 72, which is based on eating five cups. Its GL is only 7.21, indicating that it isn’t a dense carbohydrate and we know in fact that it is mostly water. Although Watermelon has a high GI, a one-cup serving won’t have much impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. Raw carrots are another example with a GI of 71 and a GL of 6.
Why does Glycemic Index matter? It’s really just another reason to enjoy whole, unprocessed food that our bodies were designed to thrive on and the lists are easy to find. NOURISH LIFE by eating a variety of foods that are low on the Glycemic Index and with a low Glycemic Load. These foods are typically nutrient dense and high in fiber to sustain energy and vitality throughout the day. Because these foods are broken down more slowly, they help you feel full longer. START SOMEWHERE trying something good straight from nature. You can do it. I will help you!