What is the Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index commonly written or used as GI in internationally recognized units to measure the effect of food carbohydrates on the blood glucose level of a human. GI calculates how much each gram of Carbohydrate in different food items raises the glucose level of blood in a person relative to consumption of Glucose, or in simple words it measures how much your blood glucose level increases after two to three hours of consuming food.
Glucose has a GI of 100 in definition and that is what all other foods are compared to. By using the Glycemic Index, dieticians are able to rank different food items according to their effect on human blood glucose levels. The numbers are useful in treating diseases like Diabetes.
How do I know the GI value of what I’m Eating?
Calculating GI for a single item is very difficult and it is a long term scientific process. Here scientists have a person fast for 12 hours and allow them to ingest food with certain amount of carbohydrates and then scientists calculate two hour blood glucose response curve. The Value derived from the test food item is then divided by a standard value and then it is multiplied by the GI of glucose (100).
For experiment control, It is important to have an equal amount of carbohydrates in the test food item and its grocery store counterpart. After calculating the GI it is possible to rank that food according to other foods on the GI Scale. If the GI range is 54 or less, the food is considered low Glycemic Index. Foods with medium GI have a range of 55 to 70, and anything above 70 is considered high GI. Maximum GI that a food can obtain is always 100. To show this better I have listed some GI’s of different foods.
According to the above table apple has very low GI of 39 mean it releases low glucose level to blood after digestion. Scientific discoveries proved that most fruits and vegetables have low GI values and they increase blood glucose level in a slow and steady manner. If you read my article SixPack Ab Secrets, I recommend eating an apple with your breakfast because it releases slowly into the bloodstream preventing a sugar “crash” later on. Most foods with high fiber work on the same principle.
Bread, wheat, ice cream and sugar have medium level of GI while pumpkin, honey and white rice have higher values of GI. It is very important to know that regular consumption of food with high GI value may lead to hyperglycemia and type 2 Diabetes.
How does this effect me?
People with dietary problems such as Diabetes have to worry about what they ingest. GI concerns only arise with foods that have high carbohydrate levels. After we eat, the metabolic process takes place in the body, it breaks down the food we consumed into glucose plus other substances and releases it into the blood stream which then causes an increase in blood glucose levels or Glucose Index.
How do high GI foods effect my weight?
Recent studies have proved that people who eat high GI value foods daily have high risk for obesity. After eating foods with High GI, the additional glucose that is not metabolized will be turned into glycogen and stored as fat which will cause an increase in body weight.
How do Low GI foods effect my weight?
People who eat mostly low GI foods tend to have lower body weights and healthier hearts. Increase sensitivity of the body towards insulin may result. Also a lower risk for cardiovascular diseases and Diabetes.
It is important for us to be aware of what we digest and their Glycemic Index values. Not only for medical awareness but also for maintaining good health and well being. If you’d like to know the GI value of any food not listed, feel free to contact me