Glycemic Index

I promised a post about glycemic index.  This is it!

Every food has a GLYCEMIC INDEX.  This term refers to how fast the carbohydrates in a food break down into sugar in the digestive system.  The higher the index value, the faster the food turns to sugar.  Unless you’ve had your head in the sand the past few years, you’ve probably heard many times over that starchy foods such as white bread, white potatoes, pasta, and white rice break down into sugar in the digestive system.  True.

But the more complete information is that every carbohydrate turns into sugar.  It’s just that some turn to sugar very quickly, causing spikes and then sudden drops in blood sugar. These are the foods with a high glycemic index.  Cakes, cookies, and other sweets fall into this category.  Other foods that are in this category include fruit juice, sweetened breakfast cereals, and of course, regular pop.

What you should eat are foods with a lower glycemic index.  These foods raise blood sugar more slowly, and keep blood sugar levels from spiking.  Generally, foods with a lower glycemic index have more fiber than those with a high index, and often contain proteins, which further help to stabilize blood sugar levels, because they are digested more slowly.

Examples of foods with low glycemic index include the following: Fruit, especially with peels (for fiber), beans, most vegetables, dairy products, and whole grain foods such as oatmeal. 

There are many books and websites that can help you with choosing lower glycemic foods.  Here are a few:

Websites:

http://www.glycemicindex.com/

http://www.mendosa.com/gilists.htm

http://diabetes.webmd.com/glycemic-index-good-versus-bad-carbs

Book that helped me:

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1581568.The_New_Glucose_Revolution

If you live in the Fort Wayne area, I can recommend a good nutrition counselor who can help with your individualized nutrition needs.  Her name is Lou Ann Binkley.  She and her partner, Debby Raftree have a website: www.yourlifestylematters.com .

Finally, I want to add that there are many diets out there.  Some  of them use the glycemic index toward weight loss, and while that is an entirely possible outcome, I’ve tried not to post those.  Glycemic index is a tool to help us to eat healthfully, and to make permanent changes in eating patterns.  A host of health benefits will follow. I encourage you to begin to choose lower glycemic index foods as a lifestyle, and not as a diet. 

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