How does the glycemic index of foods affect health?

Healthy lifestyle

How does the glycemic index of foods affect health?

14 november 2017


November 14 is World Diabetes Day. You’ve probably heard about the glycemic index of foods. Today we will tell you what it is, and what foods should be limited to reduce the risk of developing this disease.

What is the glycemic index

The glycemic index (GI) shows how quickly a food raises blood sugar, how quickly you convert it into glucose. For each food, the GI level is a comparison of the response to it with the response to glucose, which has a glycemic index of 100.

The faster the blood glucose level rises, the higher the GI.

How is it measured? Ten or more healthy people eat a 50 g serving of food. After that, within two hours, the blood sugar level is measured and compared with the indicators when taking 50 g of glucose.

Prevention of diabetes is not only about proper nutrition, but also a healthy lifestyle in general. Source

The book “Charged to 100%” details what affects the GI: how much the product is processed (rice flakes have a higher GI than rice), heat treatment (melted ice cream and regular ice cream have different GI), the presence of fat in it (fat reduces the speed digestion and reduces GI), the presence of fiber (reduces GI), protein, what sugar is in the product (sucrose, for example, breaks down into glucose and fructose, and fructose is more slowly converted to glucose in the liver and thereby slightly reduces the rate of increase in blood sugar ), the ratio of amylose (long molecule) and amylopectin (branched molecule) – the constituents of starch. The more amylose, the slower the food is digested and the lower the GI.

High and low GI

If you need to get sugar quickly, such as during exercise, a high glycemic index meal is preferred. But the predominance of high-GI foods in the daily diet will lead to depletion and loss of energy due to the sudden release of insulin. In addition, eating foods with a high GI can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. In most other situations, a lower GI meal is preferable, as it provides a more even energy production.

After a sweet, the rise in energy does not last long, then there is a sharp decline.
After the sweet, the rise in energy does not last long, then there is a sharp decline. Source

GI is indirectly a marker of usefulness-unhealthy products. Since protein and fiber lower GI, and long carbohydrates are usually found in whole grains, which are rich in vitamins and minerals, in most cases, low GI = healthy, high GI = empty calories. This is an indirect causal relationship that can nevertheless be used as a marker when analyzing dietary quality.

It is proved that the glycemic index does not affect weight loss or weight gain, only the total calorie content affects: there is no difference between 300 kcal with a GI of 100 and 300 kcal with a GI of 30. It is important for exercising and losing weight only in the context of appetite control: the higher the GI, the lower the satiating capacity and the stronger the mentioned insulin spikes, potentially leading to overeating.

About products

Low GI foods (up to 55 are considered low) are fresh fruits and vegetables, corn and sweet potatoes, whole grain breads, whole grain cereals and breakfasts, basmati rice, oatmeal, legumes, nuts and grains, fish, meat, eggs, poultry, dairy products, plain yogurt, soy milk.

Yogurt is a healthy breakfast
Yogurt is a healthy breakfast. Source

Medium GI (56–79) – instant porridge, ice cream, pizza, boiled potatoes, oatmeal cookies, raisins, white rice, chocolate and sports bars, muesli bars, couscous, pastries (such as croissants), orange and others juices, canned fruits, crackers, pasta, sugar, honey, fruit cocktails.

High GI (above 70) – dates, glucose, baguettes, baked potatoes, industrial sports drinks, chips, bagels, melon, white bread, pumpkin, sodas, french fries, muffins, candies, biscuits, crackers and toasts, watermelons, waffles.

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Based on the book “100% Charged”

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