The Glycemic Index

The Glycemic Index

Improve your health by understanding the glycemic index.

What Is the Glycemic Index and How Does it Affect Me?

The Glycemic index (also GI) is a ranking system invented by Dr. David J. Jenkins and colleagues in 1981 at the University of Toronto. It is a system that ranks the effects of carbohydrates on an individual’s blood glucose level.

Different carbs have different effects on an individual’s blood glucose level. When you consume a carb such as white bread, it will cause an insulin spike in the body and the blood glucose level will go up. The GI index will show how much effect the food has on an individual’s blood glucose level.

Generally, for weight loss, one will need to avoid foods that have a high GI index.

Carbohydrates that are slowly digested and broken, will release glucose into the blood stream gradually. These carbs have a low glycemic index. A lower glycemic index means slower rates of digestion and absorption of the sugars and starches in the foods.

Examples of Low Glycemic Index (GI) Foods:

  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherries
  • Cucumber
  • Grapefruit
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Green beans
  • Lettuce
  • Low-fat yogurt
  • Soy Beans
  • Zucchini

Examples of Hight Glycemic Index (GI) Foods:

  • White bread
  • White potatoes
  • Brown rice
  • Watermelon
  • White rice
  • Dates
  • Puffed wheat
  • Corn chips
  • Waffles
  • Rice cakes
  • Candies
  • Pretzels

Knowing the GI of the foods you consume will be very helpful to your fat loss quest. If you are eating a lot of high GI foods, you will be sabotaging your progress and these foods can even be detrimental to your overall health.

Benefits of Low Glycemic Index Foods

If your blood sugar levels keep being raised repeatedly, your endocrine system will be pushed to its limits. By choosing to consume low GI carbohydrates, you will be enjoying several health benefits.

You will increase your body’s insulin sensitivity and prevent diabetes. In the event you do have diabetes, you will be better able to control it. A low GI diet reduces blood cholesterol levels, risk of heart disease, minimizes carbohydrate cravings.

You’ll Be Less Hungry on a Low Glycemic Diet

You will feel less hungry and whatever low GI foods you consume will keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. It also prolongs physical endurance. For people trying to lose weight, a low GI diet will prevent energy crashes and you will have a lower tendency to gain weight.

In order to enjoy the benefits of a low GI diet, you will need to substitute the high GI foods you consume with low GI foods. It will take some sacrifices and initial discomfort but once you get used to it and start seeing the benefits, you will adopt this diet happily.

For starters, you can substitute the normal sugary cereals that you consume for breakfast with low GI cereals comprised of oats, bran and barley.

Instead of eating white bread and pastries which use white flour, you can eat wholegrain breads and pastries made with stone-ground flour. Switch to brown rice or basmati rice instead of white rice.

Replace white potatoes with sweet potatoes or yams. Skip the mayonnaise, margarine and high calorie dressings. Eat fresh fruits instead of drinking sweetened juices. Try a thirst quenching glass of ice water with some lemon juice and stevia for a no calorie and naturally sweetened beverage.

All these are small changes that make a big difference. Once you get used to the low GI diet, you will see changes in your body that will amaze you. You will look better and feel better. Your weight loss progress will be unhindered and more rewarding for you.