There is a common misconception about healthy vs. not so healthy foods. Most people realize that “junk food” – burgers, fries, and donuts are not good for us. But did you know that a blueberry muffin with a glass of milk, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a grilled cheese sandwich are not so healthy choices for your kids? Did you know that orange juice in the morning is not such a healthy drink? The emerging research on Glycemic Index shows that low glycemic way of eating is not only a diet for diabetics but a way we all should be eating.
So what is Glycemic Index?
Glycemic Index is a way of measuring how quickly a carbohydrate converts to sugar in our body and appears in the blood stream.
Glycemic Index is measured on a scale from 1 to 100:
• GI levels below 55 are considered to be low, indicating that the particular carbohydrate is great for keeping the blood sugar stable.
• Medium Glycemic Index ranges from 55 to 70. Carbohydrates in this range are moderately desirable.
• High GI carbohydrates have Glycemic Index over 70 and spike the blood sugar very fast.
• Glucose has the highest Glycemic Index of 100 which means it spikes the blood sugar instantly.
What happens when I eat a high GI meal?
As soon as you eat a high GI food, your blood sugar rises rapidly. In response to that, your body declares a state of emergency and starts producing insulin (the fat storing hormone) in order to eliminate the blood sugar from the bloodstream. Insulin pumps the blood sugar into fat cells. If there are not enough fat cells available, the body will make some more of them.
As your body works hard trying to lower the spike in the blood sugar caused by a high GI meal, it over-produces the amount of insulin and causes a drop in the blood sugar. You just had the high blood sugar level but before you know it – the blood sugar plummets and you become hungry again. Now you are on a look out for your next meal and most likely you will choose another high GI meal. And the process begins again.
Imagine doing that for 10, 20 or 30 years!
Which foods are blood sugar enemies or high GI?
They are: processed foods, most types of potatoes, white breads, white pastas, most types of rice, cakes and donuts, sugary foods and candy, fruit juices. Aren’t these the foods that are consumed several times a day by most people? No wonder that obesity and diabetes have reached such enormous proportions in today’s world! But the good news is that there are so many low and medium glycemic foods out there that you won’t feel deprived in any way!
About GI Symbol:
The Glycemic Index Foundation is a not-for-profit organization formed by The University of Sydney, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (Australia), and Diabetes Australia. GIF is committed to promoting healthier lifestyles to the whole community through a combination of low-GI diets and sound nutrition.
At the heart of GIF is the Glycemic Index Symbol Program (GISP) and its internationally registered certification trademark, known as the GI Symbol. The GI Symbol is their guarantee to consumers that food has had its GI tested correctly, and that the food is also an all-around healthy choice because it meets category-specific nutrient criteria that are consistent with international dietary guidelines. For more information, please visit: http://www.gisymbol.com/.
• http://www.glycemicindex.com/ – the website hosted by University of Australia – the world’s leading authority on glycemic index;
• a free glycemic index guide – download here.