Monday, April 13, 2009

What Is The Glycemic Index?

The glycemic index is a ranking of carbohydrates based on their immediate effect on blood glucose (blood sugar) levels. It compares foods gram for gram of carbohydrate. Carbohydrates that breakdown quickly during digestion have the highest glycemic indexes. The blood glucose response is fast and high. Carbohydrates that break down slowly, releasing glucose gradually into the blood stream, have low glycemic indexes.
What is the Significance of Glycemic Index?

• Low GI means a smaller rise in blood glucose levels after meals

• Low GI diets can help people lose weight

• Low GI diets can improve the body's sensitivity to insulin

• High GI foods help re-fuel carbohydrate stores after exercise

• Low GI can improve diabetes control

• Low GI foods keep you fuller for longer

• Low GI can prolong physical endurance

What is Glycemic Load?

• Glycemic load builds on the GI to provide a measure of total glycemic response to a food or meal

• Glycemic load = GI (%) x grams of carbohydrate per serving

• One unit of GL ~ glycemic effect of 1 gram glucose

• You can sum the GL of all the foods in a meal, for the whole day or even longer

• A typical diet has ~ 100 GL units per day (range 60 - 180)

• The GI database gives both GI & GL values

How to Switch to a Low GI Diet

• Use breakfast cereals based on oats, barley and bran

• Use "grainy" breads made with whole seeds

• Reduce the amount of potatoes you eat

• Enjoy all types of fruit and vegetables (except potatoes)

• Eat plenty of salad vegetables with vinaigrette dressing


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