What’s the fuss about the Glycemic Index (GI)? Well, it’s not that it’s such a new idea, folks. Diabetics have always known that some foods make your blood sugar spike and fall. For them, these foods are dangerous and must be handled with care.
For the rest of us, these foods are not life threatening, but they can be waistline threatening. When our blood sugar spikes and drops we become hungry again very quickly. It’s very easy to eat too many calories when our diets rely heavily on high GI foods.
The Glycemic Index is an index of carbohydrate foods, measured through blood testing research for their immediate and prolonged effects on blood sugar. Foods that make our blood sugar spike and fall quickly have a high Glycemic Index value (70+). Foods that raise our blood sugar steadily and slowly over a longer period of time have a low Glycemic Index value (-55).
People who are working at losing weight, increasing endurance, managing their blood sugar, and managing their diabetes prefer lower GI foods, or learn to combine high GI foods with good fats and proteins to slow digestion and minimize the effect of a high GI food.
What is a high GI food? Simple starches and things with added sugars top the list. Interestingly pastas come in pretty low, because of the way the carbohydrate is structured within the gluten in pasta dough.
What is a low GI food? Harder-to-digest starches, those high in fiber, raw food and food that contains fats or are naturally higher in protein hit lower on the scale. More acidic foods are lower, too. That’s why sourdough bread is lower than other breads.
It’s interesting and fun to have a new tool and database (glycemicindex.com) to play with. But in the end, the message sounds familiar: Fill up on veggies and whole fruits, a little protein and healthy fat with each meal, prefer complex, fiber-rich carbs to the empty kinds.
I will if you will.