What You Need To Know About Glycemic Index?

An application of GI to real diets is very typical. It is better to weigh all the information before relying on the glycemic index.

If you check out various sources on food GI, the numbers don’t be always matching. The glycemic index only takes into consideration the type of carbohydrate, not the quantity of carbohydrate, in a usual serving. Few of the foods are more concentrated sources of carbohydrate than others. For example, chocolate cake has 52 grams of carbohydrate in a typical serving, while carrots only provide 6 grams of carbohydrate in one serving. So even if the glycemic index of the carrots is higher (47, compared to 38 for the cake), the chocolate cake will have a much greater total effect on blood sugar, since it takes 81 servings of carrots to equal the carbohydrates in a cake serving.

The GI of a given food can vary depending on where it has been grown and the way it has been processed and cooked. Australian potatoes have a greater GI as compared to American potatoes. In general, the more foods are processed, the higher the GI.

Even cooking pasta longer can increase GI. Most commonly, whole grains have a lower GI as compared to refined grains. But the glycemic index rankings are often puzzling:

  • Fruit Loops, 69
  • Shredded wheat is 75
  • Whole grain bread was 71
  • Brown rice averaged 55 (50-66)
  • White bread in six studies was 70
  • Bran flakes and Cheerios have a GI of 74
  • Long-grain white rice averaged 56 in 10 studies (it ranges between 41 and 64)

And, ironically, sugars have a lower GI than starches because starches are made up entirely of glucose molecules, and sugars are not. Coca-Cola therefore has a lower GI than grape flakes.

Experts don’t agree on the value of the glycemic index. The American Diabetes Association states that the relationship between the glycemic index and the glycemic load and the development of type 2 diabetes remains uncertain at this time. The GI have been endorsed as a tool to improve blood sugar control by The Canadian and Australian Diabetes Associations. Some dietitians who work with people with diabetes recommend that their clients address other diet-related issues first, such as total carbohydrates and meal spacing, and then try the GI concept to see if it further improves blood sugar. There is no doubt that various foods produce varied blood sugar responses, but total carbohydrates have a much more effect than GI. If you have a harder time using GI diets, a perfect approach is to eat close to the farm. Avoid highly refined foods and focus on beans and legumes, whole grains, lean meats and fresh fruits and vegetables.

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